[Ballots arriving now] Best Starts for Kids Levy is on Your Primary Election Ballot

By: Jillian Henze, APR Posted: 07/19/2021

Levy-funded programs delivering valuable results to children and their families

This election cycle, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is focused on elevating serious civic dialogue on our most pressing issues. While we are not making candidate endorsements, nor are we engaging in candidate spending, on May 26 we endorsed King County Proposition 1, a renewal of the Best Starts for Kids Levy.

Ballot and Voting Info

Ballots should have arrived in your mailbox by or on July 15, according to King County Elections. Your ballot must be postmarked or turned into ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Aug. 3. You can find the location of all of King County’s ballot drop boxes here.

Haven’t yet registered to vote? You can still vote in the primary if you register online or by mail by July 26. Learn how to register to vote online, by mail, or in person in King County here. You can register in person and vote at the King County Elections office in Renton or at a vote center on or before Aug. 3.

Best Starts for Kids Renewal

This measure will appear on the August primary election ballot, and if approved, would levy a property tax of 19 cents per $1,000 in assessed value, a 5-cent increase over the rate of the existing levy.

The Chamber supports the Best Starts for Kids renewal because the levy-funded programs are delivering valuable and meaningful results to children and their families and because it supports nonprofits and community organizations that do critical work but often lack funding.

The Best Starts for Kids program has a track record of measurable success and is the most comprehensive investment in child development in the nation. This renewal measure builds on that success, and also invests in expanding access to childcare for low-income families, which is critically important to an equitable economic recovery.

Best Starts for Kids was passed by the voters for the first time in 2015. The Chamber was among the organizations that endorsed the original levy, which has so far served 490,000 young children and 40,000 youth and young adults.

Best Starts for Kids is different from, and complements, the state’s recently passed Fair Starts for Kids Act, which invests in childcare and early learning and Seattle’s Families, Education, Preschool and Promise levy, which focuses on preschool expansion.

If renewed, Best Starts for Kids would support programs in four main categories: 

  • Children prenatal to age 5 (50% of funds): These investments include breastfeeding support, home visits for parents, and access to essential needs like car seats and diapers.

    The levy renewal also includes a new childcare program to provide subsidies for 3,000 low-income families. The childcare program is designed to provide for families who meet the income requirements for state childcare subsidies (Working Connections Child Care) but are ineligible for various reasons. This includes families with parents who are students or in training programs, parents who are unemployed and seeking employment, families who are undocumented, and families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • Children and young adults ages 6-24 (35% of funds): These investments would support out-of-school services including before- or after-school care and career-readiness programs, like the Work Training Education program.
  • Community investments (10% of funds): Best Starts also seeks to build community capacity and has collaborated with more than 150 organizations to create more than 241 community partnerships, according to King County.
  • Data collection and evaluation (5% of funds).

The distribution of levy funding is designed to correlate with the experience of childhood poverty: with 30-40% in south King County, 30% in Seattle, 10-15% on the Eastside, and the remainder in north King County.

Learn more about Best Starts for Kids here.