Right now funding for affordable housing and homeless services is in jeopardy. The head tax proposal, which would bring in $75 million a year by taxing big businesses like Amazon, is going up for a vote as soon as May 14. Mayor Jenny Durkan is siding with Amazon and pushing for less funding for affordable housing.
With an unprecedented number of homeless deaths so far this year, action on the homelessness crisis should be your and the City’s highest priority. Delay has unacceptable costs. Councilmembers and diverse stakeholders worked for months to craft Progressive Business Tax legislation that is a real response to this crisis, raising $75 million per year for housing, shelter, and services.
It is shocking and disappointing that after all this, you propose a plan that would build a mere 250 units of housing over five years. This is not a serious plan. In fact it is an irresponsible plan, because it will fail to make a meaningful impact, and five years from now hundreds more homeless people will have died and we will still be in the midst of a state of emergency.
The people of Seattle, and the businesses of Seattle, want to see results. As the McKinsey report recently confirmed, that means major new resources and low-income housing on a large scale. We cannot accept legislation that is just another bandaid, because it fails utterly to address the severe affordable housing shortage that is the major driver of homelessness in our region. $40 million is simply too low.
We cannot let Amazon drive our public policy or force cities into a race to the bottom. Progressive cities like Seattle must demonstrate that a cutting-edge tech economy can deliver equity and dignity for all. Right now we are failing. If we continue to fail, more extreme social and political polarization are inevitable.
I call on you to support $75 million/year legislation that will fund thousands of units of new low-income housing, in addition to expanding shelter and services to keep people safe and alive today.
Then call and email your councilmembers today! If you aren’t sure who your district councilmember is, click here to find out.
Everyone should reach out to both CM Teresa Mosqueda and CM Lorena Gonzalez, who represent all of Seattle, letting them know you appreciate their support of the head tax. Then reach out to your District councilmember to thank them, if they support the head tax, or urge them to reconsider, if they don’t support the head tax. We make it clear below which councilmembers you should thank for supporting the head tax, and which councilmembers you should urge to support the head tax.
Thank CM Lisa Herbold (District 1 - West Seattle, South Park) - 206-684-8803
URGE TO SUPPORT CM Bruce Harrell (District 2 - Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill) - 206-684-8804
Thank CM Kshama Sawant (District 3 - Capitol Hill) - 206-684-8016
URGE TO SUPPORT CM Rob Johnson (District 4 - U-District, Ravenna) - 206-684-8808
URGE TO SUPPORT CM Debora Juarez (District 5 - Northgate, northern most part of Seattle) - 206-684-8805
Thank CM Mike O'Brien - (District 6 - Ballard, Wallingford, Fremont, Phinney Ridge) 206-684-8800
URGE TO SUPPORT CM Sally Bagshaw (District 7 - Queen Anne, Belltown) - 206-684-8801