Child care levy extension to be on August ballot in King County

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A levy aimed at helping improve access to child care in King County will be sent to voters this August.

Voters will decide in the Aug. 3 primary whether to extend the Best Starts for Kids levy another six years. The King County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put the levy on the ballot.

The new proposal would set a first-year levy rate of 19 cents per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value, or about $114 per year for a median-priced King County home, and limits annual levy growth to 3%, according to a statement from King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office.

The new proposal is an increase of five cents compared to the previous measure, which voters approved in 2015.

The levy renewal is expected to generate about $811 million and help 3,000 children under 5 years old who currently have no access to child care.

The new child care program would focus on communities that can least afford quality care and families at risk of unemployment or homelessness, according to Constantine’s office.

If approved, 22.5% of revenues would continue funding the Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative and provide new funding for affordable child care and a child care workforce demonstration project.

Another 50% would support programs for children aged prenatal through five, and 37% would be directed to services for children, youth and young adults aged five through 24.

If voters do not approve extending the levy in August, then it will expire on Dec. 31, 2021.