Durkan signs Seattle's head-tax ordinance into law

Thursday, 17 May, 2018

In a separate vote yesterday, the council approved (5-4) spending two-thirds of the new tax revenue to build and operate low-income housing units.

Shannon Brown, 55, who has been living a tiny home at a south Seattle homeless encampment, said there's simply not enough housing for the city's poorest people. The city says the tax will raise about $50 million annually for efforts to reduce homelessness, including affordable housing and emergency shelters. The Seattle business community was almost universally opposed to the tax, according to Nelson. "While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council's hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here". Per city officials around 600 firms would qualify for the head tax or employee hours tax.

"The city does not have a revenue problem - it has a spending efficiency problem", Herdener said.

A council chamber packed mostly with rowdy, shouting supporters of the tax erupted in cheers and sign waving Monday once the 9-0 vote was recorded.

John Kelly, the coffee company's senior vice president of Global Public Affairs and Social Impact, thinks in a similar fashion as that of Herdener, and has said the city "continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside".

"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", said John Kelly, Starbucks' senior vice president of global public affairs and social impact.

"We must make urgent progress on our affordability and homelessness crisis", Durkan said in a statement Wednesday.

"People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity".

Both sides - the city, personified by socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and the corporations, represented by Jeff Bezos, the multibillionaire founder of retail giant Amazon - could claim some measure of victory in the reduced tax. "Looking ahead, I am focused on acting to move people off the street and into safer places, to clean up the garbage and needles that are in our parks and in our communities, and to provide resources to those people experiencing homelessness, including job training, behavioral health services, and other supportive services". In recent years, the number of homeless individuals has ballooned to more than 11,000 in King County, with the vast majority of those residing inside the city limits of Seattle. The total will increase if Amazon follows through on plans to expand its headcount in the city within the next few years.