Expensive Seattle parking could get more expensive under city council proposal

Ask around at Seattle's commercial parking garages and lots and you won't find much support for increasing parking taxes to help fund Metro bus service.

Seattle City Council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata propose raising the city parking tax from 12.5 percent to 17.5 percent as part of a package to prevent transit service cuts.

"I think it's already pretty expensive, it would be a shame if they had to raise it further," said Ben Piatt of Woodinville.

He paid about $12 to park for an hour near Pike Place Market.

That same lot charges up to $56 per day before taxes.

"It's ridiculous, it's robbery," said Barbara Brinkman, visiting from Tennessee.

She paid more than $20 for an hour and a half.

"This was my sightseeing stop," Brinkman said. "I don't think I'm going to be here very long at this price."

Sawant and Licata also proposed a head tax on employers of between $1 and $1.50 per month per worker.

They want the head tax and the parking tax to replace the sales tax increase in the mayor's proposal to save Metro.

They say Mayor Ed Murray's plan to raise the sales tax .01 percent is regressive and would hurt the working poor.

Downtown Seattle Association President Kate Joncas questions both proposed taxes.

"What are the council members thinking?" Joncas asked.

"Businesses are not an ATM," Joncas said. "They're having to face a lot between $15 and health care," Joncas said in reference to an effort to raise the city's minimum wage.

The city has had a commercial parking tax since 2007, when it began at 5 percent.

The proposed tax increase would not affect public, metered street parking.