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King County

Proposition No. 1
Regular Property Tax Levy for Children, Youth, Families and Communities

The King County Council passed Ordinance No. 18088 concerning funding to improve well-being of children, youth, families and communities. If approved, this proposition would provide funding for prevention and early intervention to achieve positive outcomes related to: healthy pregnancy; parental and newborn support; healthy child and youth development; the health and well-being of communities; and crisis prevention and early intervention for children and youth, including for domestic violence and homelessness. The measure would authorize an additional regular property tax of $0.14 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection beginning in 2016 and authorize maximum annual increases of 3% in the succeeding 5 years. Should this proposition be:



This proposition would authorize King County to levy an additional regular property tax at the rate of fourteen cents ($0.14) or less per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of assessed valuation on all taxable property within King County to fund prevention and early intervention strategies to improve the health and well-being of children, youth, families and communities. The levy would be authorized for a six-year period with collection beginning in 2016 and with annual increase up to 3% authorized for years two through six.

Levy proceeds would be used to improve the health and well-being of children, youth, families and communities, with 50% focused on children under 5 years of age, 35% on children aged 5 through 24, 10% on communities of opportunity, and the remaining 5% as detailed in Ordinance 18088. Funding would go towards services for pregnant women and newborns, access to safe and healthy food, and improved access to mental health services and developmental screening. Funding would also be used for prevention and early intervention on negative outcomes including chronic disease, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence and incarceration. Funding would further be used to reduce inequities in outcomes for children and youth in the county and to strengthen, integrate and encourage innovation in health and human services agencies. Of the first year levy proceeds, $19 million would fund a youth and family homelessness prevention initiative and cover levy election costs.

An oversight and advisory board comprised of county residents and stakeholders with geographically and culturally diverse perspectives would also be established to make recommendations and monitor distribution of levy proceeds.

For questions about this measure, contact: Adrienne Quinn, Director, Department of Community and Human Services, 206-263-7991,

Every child in King County deserves the best start in life. All kids need support as they grow to reach their full potential. Proposition 1 is a bipartisan, evidence-based package that will fund proven programs, deliver real, measurable benefits, and create lasting change.

Early Childhood: Groundbreaking UW research shows brain development is most critical from ages 0-3. Prop 1 provides prenatal support, parent education, caregiver training, developmental screenings, and targeted help for young families facing economic hardship or homelessness.

Behavioral Intervention: Equipping teachers and parents to identify behavioral and mental health challenges—and get kids the help they need—is critical to school success, dropout prevention, and keeping kids away from crime. 

Domestic Violence Prevention: Kids should live in nurturing homes. Prop 1 supports programs to reduce the risk of domestic abuse—and to protect victims.

Fiscally Responsible: Currently 75% of county resources go to criminal justice —managing bad outcomes rather than preventing them. Prop 1 moves upstream – into prevention - breaking cycles of poverty and punishment, saving money, and making sure every child can grow, learn, and thrive.

Endorsements: Executive Dow Constantine; mayors and councilmembers; business and union leaders; Boys and Girls Clubs; YWCA; United Way of King County.

Statements submitted by: Nancy Backus, Calvin Lyons, and Dow Constantine,

Basic county services are underfunded. King County is closing bridges and returning roads to gravel due to annual maintenance budget shortfalls of over $100 million. The Sheriff’s budget needs millions to return staffing to pre-recession levels. The County Executive recently proposed releasing some felons hours after arrest to cut costs. 

This levy sounds nice, but it is a “blank check” without details on how it will be spent.  King County taxpayers simply cannot afford this additional $400 million when King County is not funding basic services.

Due to state-imposed property tax limits, up to 14 Fire and Hospital Districts could lose funding with this levy.  There would also be little room left under our taxing authority to fully fund law enforcement, courts, jails, or road maintenance.

Just a few short months ago, the State increased education funding by 19% or $2.7 billion earlier this year.  As former State Legislators we understand these programs are a state responsibility, and recent state budget increases will expand high-quality early learning opportunities for our kids. 

Now is not the time for a new $400 million levy.  Politicians need to fund vital county services first, before asking for extras in the County’s budget.

Statements submitted by: Warren Peterson and George Scott,

Best Starts is a smart investment in preventing problems, reducing criminal justice costs, and creating long-term tax savings. The Seattle Times agrees, endorsing Prop 1: “… the cold-eyed assessment of social-sciences researchers … finds that $221 spent on behavioral interventions for kids in child care yields benefits (better grades, fewer disruptions, prevented crime) worth $31,741…” An independent citizen oversight board ensures accountability. For less than $5 per average homeowner, Best Starts helps all children succeed. 

King County’s Charter, our county Constitution, requires us to fund basic county services first. Our Sheriff’s Office has nearly 125 fewer officers than pre-recession and our roads remain critically underfunded. Until we fully fund our county services, taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to shoulder Olympia’s responsibilities. 

This proposed levy lacks specifics. It’s a blank check to spend $400,000,000 without details on how to spend it. Our children deserve organization and accountability, which this levy doesn’t provide.

Simple majority (RCW 84.55.050)

1266 en-US Production

TTY: Relay 711

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