Citizens’ Guide to Benton County Proposition 14-5 to Raise the Sales Tax to Expand Public Safety Programs
by Jason Mercier
Washington Policy Center
May 08, 2014
In August 2014, citizens in Benton County will vote on Proposition 14-5, a proposal to increase the local sales tax rate by 0.3 percent and collect approximately $9 million per year for increased public safety spending. The proposal would increase the total sales tax paid by a family at the county’s median income ($64,898) by $87 per year, or $7.25 per month. If approved, the combined sales tax rate in Benton County would increase from 8.3 percent to 8.6 percent, the third highest sales tax rate in Eastern Washington. A Citizen Advisory Committee also recommended Benton County implement performance audits. Yet, no performance audits have been scheduled or are tied to Proposition 14-5. Although law enforcement staffing and the crime rate have held steady over the past decade, gang activity is on the rise and requires more of the existing resources and time available for other public safety needs.