The Seattle City Council
Monday afternoon chose a smaller, simpler, “reasonable” compromise to create a new tax on the city’s largest companies to help pay for affordable housing and homelessness services.
In a 8-1 vote, the council — some reluctantly — chose a new version of the plan introduced as Amendment 24 during the afternoon full council session with sponsorship from eight of the nine members — all save Capitol Hill’s District 3 rep, Kshama Sawant.
“I’ve been really struggling with how I feel about this compromise because I’ve been really, really focused on the spending plan and the dire needs of our communities,” co-sponsor of the original legislation Lisa Herbold said before the vote. But she said she was proud the plan for a new tax had “evolved more towards progressivity” and would do things like protect the city’s small businesses.
Friday, a council committee approved a veto-vulnerable $500/employee version of the tax.
Monday’s $48 million compromise legislation avoids a collision course with a Mayor Jenny Durkan-threatened veto and will implement a $275 per full-time employee tax on companies reporting $20 million or greater in annual “taxable gross receipts,” eliminated the proposed transition to a payroll tax, and gives the tax plan a five-year window after which it will be evaluated and will require new legislation to continue.
Meanwhile, the smaller tax plan will be accompanied by a smaller housing and homelessness services spending plan including enough money to build an estimated 591 affordable units in five years, and around 15 million per year for services including rental subsidies, shelters, “innovative temporary housing,” and more than a million a year for “city-wide sanitation and garbage services such as but not limited to Seattle Public Utilities’ Clean Cities program” —
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Originally written by JSeattle