King County Council Unanimously Sends Best Starts for Kids Levy Renewal to Voters

The King County Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to send the Best Starts for Kids levy to voters, who will ultimately decide on renewing the levy for another six years. It will appear on the August 3 primary ballot.

“Over the past five years, Best Starts for Kids has been developed and driven by families, community members and community organizations into an overwhelming success,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, prime sponsor of the legislation to put the renewal on the August ballot. “This foundational and impactful work has meant more support for kids and young adults, security for families, and stronger communities – a thriving county and region for all residents. I’m thrilled to send voters the opportunity to renew this levy for another six years.”

Best Starts for Kids is a prevention-oriented regional plan aimed at supporting the healthy development of children and youth, families, and communities across King County. With levy funding, the plan invests in promotion, prevention and early intervention for children, youth, young adults, families, and communities. The renewal proposal, if approved by voters, would add funding for improved access to childcare throughout King County.

The new proposal would set a first-year levy rate of $0.19 per $1,000 of assessed property value with annual growth capped at 3%. Homeowners with a median-priced home ($600,000) would pay about $114 for 2022. It is projected to generate roughly $872 million during the six-year period.

Additional quotes:

Council chair Claudia Balducci: “As we emerge out of the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that we invest in the physical and mental health of our children. I am pleased that Council has unanimously passed legislation giving voters the opportunity to consider a levy that continues and builds upon investments that serve children and families in communities across King County.”

Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles:

“It’s safe to say, the first Best Starts for Kids levy approved by the voters in 2015 has been a huge success. But our work isn’t done yet. That’s why I am very pleased the Council has voted today to give the voters of King County the opportunity to renew and enhance an already comprehensive Best Starts for Kids levy. The future is bright in King County.”

Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer: “As Chair of the Regional Policy Committee, we worked extensively on this measure to ensure perspectives from across King County were incorporated into the proposal, and I am pleased that the voters will have this on their ballot in August.”