SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council released an updated proposal today to tax employers in Seattle. This proposal is yet another plan to tax and spend without a clear plan to address homelessness.
The current reality on the streets of Seattle clearly shows the City Council’s approach to homelessness has been inconsistent and ineffective. Yet, this Council has continued to drastically increase spending across the board each year with little or no impact on the most critical issue facing our region.
The spending proposal released today would raise an additional $75 million in tax revenue each year, without offering clear accountability, a sense of the measurable outcomes of this proposal, or how will it reduce the unsheltered population. It does not include a sustainable plan for affordable housing: it has no funding to operate the housing units the Council proposes to construct, no details on siting, and no mention of land costs. Further, it provides no meaningful funding to address behavioral health or substance abuse disorders, nor to increase employment opportunities.
History has shown that this is not a problem that the City can solve alone. King County and the surrounding cities need to be involved in a coordinated approach, and this proposal lacks any such coordination.
– The city’s General Fund has grown from $1.28 billion in 2012 to $1.78 billion in 2016, a 39% increase.
– Over the same period, Seattle’s population grew by only 11%, and cumulative inflation was only 6.8%.
– Taxes paid by businesses into the General Fund total $700 million annually, accounting for an estimated 57% of Seattle’s General Fund revenue.
– The number of unsheltered homeless in Seattle has increased by 37% in the last three years despite the City of Seattle’s increased spending.
– Despite record tax revenues, on March 19, 2018, it was announced that the Seattle City Council had overspent the City’s revenues by an estimated $15-20 million this past year.