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$2.3 million in new sales tax for Olympia

So very easy

A Sales and Use tax was the only question on the April 26 ballot sent to Olympia’s. 35,416 registered voters. Most of them didn’t vote; only 12,465 did. Of those, 7,242 voted in favor of the tax.

This meant that 20% of Olympia’s registered voters imposed a sales and use tax on everyone else. {Ed note: the 2022 adult population of Olympia is slightly over 42,000.)

The tax will generate an estimated $2.3 million dollars each year for the next seven years. The purpose of the tax includes funding capital expenditures or acquisitions of real property, construction of improvements to real property, technology and cultural access programs for Olympia’s non-profit cultural organizations with a 501(c)(3) status recognized by the internal revenue service. Ten percent of the funds are reserved for administrative costs and ten percent for youth transportation costs. (from RCW 36.160 and City Resolution M-2280). The tax collection begins almost immediately —July 1, 2022.

The City of Olympia will create a special fund for the receipt of these tax revenues. Mayor Selby and the Council will create a nine-person Cultural Access Program Advisory Board (CAP Advisory Board). This Board will make recommendations for funding to the Mayor and City Council.

Mayor Selby and the City Council sent a resolution to the County Auditor in December, 2021, asking that the sales and use tax initiative be placed on the ballot on April 26. That same month Cheryl Selby along with Patty Belmonte, CEO of Hands on Children’s Museum, donated $500 each to begin funding the “Inspire Olympia” campaign which advocated for passage of the sales and use tax.

Their campaign raised $36,746 in cash. The largest cash donors were the Washington Center ($11,500), Patty Belmonte, CEO of Hands on Children’s Museum ($8000) and Cheryl Selby ($1,755).

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