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Voters, city leaders react after Bellevue sales tax vote fails

Posted at 9:03 AM, May 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 10:03:36-04
  • Bellevue voters firmly rejected the city’s ask to pay a ½ cent sales tax during Tuesday's election. Hear reaction from city leaders and voters.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

63% of voters said no to raising Bellevue's city sales tax. Voter Catherine O'Brien said she had concerns over transparency, and having to pay another tax from her already tight budget.

“I have my car that I'm still paying off,” she said. “I have insurance that I pay for, I have clothing and food that I need to pay for.”

O’Brien said she believes that’s why so many voted no.

Mayor Rusty Hike said voter confusion over whether tax revenue would go toward a new water park in the works played a key role in the outcome.

“There’s a lot going on in town and people kind of blend everything together,” Hike said. “I think it’s an important tool that i’ll keep trying to get it back on the ballot and try to educate the public better about.”

Hike wants to focus on improving communication with taxpayers, and is hopeful the tax will be on the ballot again in November.

it’s not the first time we’ve seen tax or bond questions fail, voters in other communities like Glenwood and Bennington also refused to pay for higher taxes and bonds. It's also happened in larger cities like Kansas City.

O'Brien shared what she hopes the city takes away from her no vote.

“What are we doing with the money we already have, and get us to a better spot with what we’re already spending money on so that we can continue to grow.”