Seattle City Council Kills Head Tax for Homelessness Services

Comments

1
Extra credit question:

Which way did Durkan vote?

Explain your answer, and its relevance to The Stranger's coverage of the mayoral race.
2
It will be paid for with magical fairy unicorn dust.

She doesn’t take office yet @1, votes are not certified yet, we vote by mail and any postmarked Election Day are valid
3
@2

All of those facts are true, and yes, it is a trick question... but you have not found the correct answer.

Hint: Which way did the sitting mayor vote?
3
To bad the city does not want to work with businesses to hire the homeless instead of punishing businesses for hiring you.
4
So it follows from the update that one CM voted against both funding mechanisms. Seems like that person's identity is the kind of detail worthy of inclusion.

@1: Mayors don't vote on the council, and she's not mayor yet. Otherwise, brilliant comment.
5
@4

Correct! Seattle Mayors do not vote on Head Tax bills that come before the city Council!

Now explain the relevance of this answer to The Stranger's coverage of the Mayoral race.
6
Of course it was rejected. The government leaders at all levels here pay lip service to progressive values, but they're shills for business interests and the government-spending lobbyists. They pimp regressive taxes incessantly, because those target households of modest wealth. Unfortunately, The Stranger plays stupid about this, and acts as a mouthpiece for the proponents of all regressive tax hikes.
7
Oh my.
Harris-Talley said she received "three-to-one" public feedback in support of the tax. She pledged to return to council chambers after incoming council member Teresa Mosqueda is sworn in on November 28. "There's going to be a new council and we're going to show them twice as much of what community has to say," Harris-Talley said.
This is the kind of response you get from someone who just listens to the people in their circle instead of listening to everyone you are supposed to represent. This is flawed taxation in so many ways. 1. They haven't listened to specialists who did studies that say we are spending enough now, just need to spend it more wisely. 2. Taxing a business on gross numbers rather than net is silly. Some firms have super thin margins, others are dramatically higher. Using gross figures just proves this council hasn't a clue about how businesses work. 3. Really easy to spend more of other people's money and call it "a fair share." Who determines what is fair. Silly council.
8
Wait wait wait. So Sawant was for using the rainy day before she was against It?
9
If your housing emergency that you've declared a state of CRISIS for doesn't count as a rainy day, what does?

Some people just want to add taxes on business, because their rhetoric gives them no choice but to up the ante over and over again or get cannibalized by more "progressive" challengers. They seem out of ideas, unwilling to aim efforts at the real barriers to funding housing and homelessness abatement, and more interested in grandstanding than investing in the long stuff slog that would be DEMANDING A FUCKING STATE INCOME TAX.

You all just took back your state government. And fixing your regressive tax code should be ALL YOU TALK ABOUT. Keep refusing new regressive taxation until your leaders start getting it right.
10
Because continuing to do nothing and sucking corporate c**k will DEFINITELY make the problem go away.
11
$50 million a year on homeless is not enough? It's been called a homeless crisis for what, three years! Look what our city has done, more homeless. Maybe, just maybe, idiots have been elected that are in over their heads.

Just look how the City Council already has divided up the proposed income tax. It goes a dozen ways and tax relief for low income (ya know, what it is supposed to be for) is last on the list.
12
The Seattle City Council made a smart decision? Wow! That's news!
13
Logic prevails. Hooray!
14
talley-harris wasn't even elected, so screw her right off the bat.

as for the rest of the council, just how much money will be enough? as it is emergency shelters are not full because mean rulez - no meth or heroin, etc.

how much money will be enough?
15
How cute. Liberal progressivism is crumbling under its own stupidity. We need more warm and cozy injection sites filled with “healthcare professionals” to help out addicts safely while everyone else freezes in the cold, gets chewed on by city rats, and as eventually happens in these situations will be forced to deal with the onslaught of diseases like Hepatitis A and as we are seeing now in 10 African countries - Black Plague.
16
Reading from here in San Francisco, it's deja-vu all over again. The problem is that you need a hard-nosed person in charge without any political ties who can make tough calls and make them stick in the face of either (or any) side's agendas. And who can tell them that they're trying to do too much at once. And where they're wasting money.
A while back there was talk here of actually holding the various community groups that were supposed to be getting people into housing accountable by getting the information of just how many people they got housing for and if they were still housed. Surprise, surprise!! All these politically connected groups had (1). No idea how many people they'd helped (2) Had no way of tracking any of them (3) Didn't want to . Has that reached Seattle yet?
A few years ago there was an idea floating around to raise height limits on main streets here in SF. Raising height limits on major traffic corridors like Geary, Market and Mission to 7 stories. The uproar from neighborhoods that want to keep low limits put a stop to that. Said it would ruin their family friendly areas. Never mind that it only included the actual lots that line the street. And who led the charge? Homelessness advocates and anti-eviction groups who claimed that it would lead to thousands being thrown out in a massive building frenzy.
17
@14 Spot on!
18
#14 and #17 Have you been to these shelters? Ever had to stay in one? I’ll be you haven’t.

Ever been without enough money to afford your rent? Ever been homeless? Ever had someone you love (e.g. parent, child or close friend) die from addiction? Are you so poor that you have a hard time affording food, housing and transportation? If you answer this do not lie.
19
All the head tax would have done is drive businesses out of the city so the amount of revenue generated over time would fail to meet even conservative expectations.

Would you have wanted your job to move to Thurston or Whatcom county? That could well have happened, since Seattle has become an expensive place to do business even without the head tax. As it is, Amazon is signaling that it might be taking its first baby step in the direction of Seattle's exit door. Jeff Bezos started his business here only because at the time Seattle was a cheap place to do so, not because he was in love with the city.

Another way to fund local homeless programs must be found instead. And my feeling is that it should in some way be tied to real estate development.
20
This got voted down because it's stupid. This city squanders more tax than probably even the federal government. Where does the grocery bag tax go? Where does all the marijuana tax go? To defending some stupid bitch who can't keep her uninformed mouth shut. Or an underground drill. Now Seattelites are paying for parking until 10! Wow, that's really gonna hit the wealthy, isn't it?! The lower and middle class people who have to work nights downtown get screwed so our inept, backwards city council can waste more money inviting more homeless in, creating more biking infrastructure and pandering to one percent of our populous. They should all be fired so we could actually vote in a group that truly represents us. Idiot Sawant is my district rep. I'd sooner see her in stocks in Pioneer square having rotten fruit thrown at her.
21
What a sad day when we can’t agree to mindlessly generate more paperwork and bureaucracy to prove how much we care.
22
Give the homeless homes!

Salt Lake City, Utah solved its homeless problem and it was written up in the New Yorker.

There are 1.5 million people in SLC and thousands of homeless. The city is run by the Mormon Church and this church understands the business model.

Shelters don’t work...BUT individual apartments do! Basically people need a place to stay where they can keep their stuff locked up with a key.
SLC found that it cost $8,000 a year to put folks/families in newly constructed studios and 1-2 bedroom apts.
They had social workers for each set of places.

Utah is one of the reddest, most conservative states in America. Building housing made business sense.

I have had to live in domestic violence shelters before and any type of shelter sucks. No privacy, (10 women and 30 kids in one open bay), no place to cook your own meals but WORST they never allow drugs or alcohol! That’s DUMB! People need a stable place to stay before they can work on issues. That’s if you remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/…

Utah is doing well. Seattle should give it a go.
23
SLC, Utah solved its homeless problem by building housing for the homeless. It came out to be $8,000 a person a year.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/…

Utah is a VERY conservative red state. Thousands no longer homeless out of a city of 1.5 million.
24
#22/23:

You're going to use a magazine article as your primary source for the economics of public housing? Really? Are you assuming the the "New Yorker" doesn't have an ideological agenda, or that its "facts" are checked against the most authoritative sources? Oh, please.

On its face, the assertion that housing can be built for "$8,000 a year" is ridiculous. If the construction was of high quality, the lifetime amortized cost would be several times that; if it was built on the cheap, you'd see the project wrapped in plastic for construction defects before the paint was dry. And still, the lifetime amortized cost would far exceed $8,000 a year.

Assertions like "what Utah did" are just emotional pixie dust that well intentioned people sprinkle over complex problems. They don't begin to address the more basic behavioral problems that exist among many people who comprise the long-term homeless. (Remember, some of these people have even been evicted from homeless camps!) And until a sober examination of the problem in its entirety is made, no amount of wishful thinking is going to cure it.
25
I'm glad to hear it was voted down! Not that I think it will stay down....but merely morph into another hostile form of tax directed at business owners.

Instead wouldn't it be nice if the City Council got to work on a real solution instead of just taxing and throwing money at a problem without an end goal or finish line.

As I have suggested, if the City Council wants business to "help out" then why not invite the business community to form a committee and provide some solutions. These companies have vast amounts of intellectual capital, skill, resources which would seem to lend itself to a genuine interest in solving this problem.

How ironic....The city council will listen endlessly to small angry mobs and special interest groups, but fails to listen to the business community and their concerns. Sawant, having been sued for slander, twice already continues to paint the business, which contribute greatly to the community as "capitalist vipers" oppressing the poor and workers at every turn.

26
Sawant and Harris-Talley represent a very small, yet extremely vocal, minority of the Seattle population.Harris-Talley was appointed for a brief time until the incoming council member takes office, so she should have no vote on increasing taxes for which is she will not be held accountable by the voters of Seattle. The head tax was rushed through, with very little thought and no supporting analysis of how much of an impact it would have on eliminating homelessness. This would just be throwing money away without knowing what the results are. The city of Seattle needs to improve and show results with the money it is currently spending on eliminating homelessness. Until it can do that, there should be no further tax money generated for a system that is not working.
27
If the city of Seattle wishes to increase it's revenue streams, it should rescind all tax exemptions and breaks that are currently on the books. If the revenue stream that this generates is not enough, then it should look into how the current revenue stream is spent, including outside service contracts in all areas, and eliminate those that are not giving the city an economic benefit. Finally, increasing or imposing new taxes should be looked at and implemented.
28
Another bold decision to do nothing, approved of by constituents who offer no alternatives. Slow clap.
29
@24,

Yes the New Yorker fact checks. Every American knows it is a generally reputable and non-ideological publication...oh wait—I see your comment posted about 5:00 pm Moscow time. Interesting.......
30
@19 You're on to something. Moving some jobs to Thurston or Whatcom county would solve a lot of problems, housing costs and traffic for starters. You've convinced me. Raising taxes is a good thing.
31
When was the last time a story came out of city hall that WASN'T about raising taxes for something that an ungodly amount of tax money is already being blown on? If these morons spent half as much time on creating solutions as they do on conjuring up new taxes maybe there would be some progress on cleaning up the dumping ground known as Seattle.
32
Good, the city hired two separate consultants last year who each independently concluded that we spend enough to address the homeless issue in this city but that the money gets wasted. Don't reward incompetence on the city's behalf by continuing to issue them blank check after blank check and blaming businesses in the area for their misallocation of resources.
33
Kshama should emphasize all those dang tax loopholes - basically de facto taxes - that cater almost entirely to the Upper Class in Seattle . . . . --- https://www.ctj,org & http://www.itep.org/whopays & http://taxsanity.org & https://www.inequality.org & http://www.corporatewelfare.org .
34
When are we going to give in and accept that all these people who move here, essentially with no plan other than they heard we have great social help relative to most places, are not our problem? They drain resources that should first and foremost, be going to help our actual, established, state citizens and neighbors? I have worked (volunteered) more than a few times with my local company and I know damn well that WAY over 50% of these folks are relatively new to our state and city and seem to predominately come from the south, with a real emphasis on the gulf states. When our social workers encounter these folks looking for more handouts rather than being ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get a hand up and into housing and employed, they should be offered the chance for a ticket home or wherever else they want to go in the contiguous United States, and some cash for meals for a few days as they travel. If they do not want the ticket, if they choose to stay, if they do not really want help but instead want support (Which if everyone would be honest, most do not really want help, only support) well then, fuck 'em. No more support. Fucking rot under an overpass. Or fertilize a greenbelt. I hope we have a two-week plus cold snap of below freezing weather in a month or two, preceded and followed by non-stop rain.
35
#29:

Wow, that was clever. Do you give lessons?

And if you think the New Yorker doesn't have an ideological slant, ask yourself when you last saw a conservative writer published therein (N.B.: I'm not conservative, just an anti-dogmatist).

And if you think the New Yorker's "fact checking" is unimpeachable, well, I'll have what you're smoking. They're out to sell magazines (or, to be Chomskyan, readers to advertisers) and there will be expectations that fact checking support a story line. There's too much money involved in the production of a story to have some intern's objections, no matter how well founded, put the kibosh on it.