On Friday afternoon, a proposal to tax around 3 percent of the highest-income companies in Seattle-the result of a similar task force convened last year-came out of the Special Committee with a tight five-to-four vote to prevent a possible veto from Mayor Jenny Durkan.
As the proposal suggests, only companies that make $ 20 million or more of gross revenue would be subject to the tax that includes Amazon, but also Starbucks, Uwajimaya, and others. It would begin in the year 2019 as an hourly rate, where the companies involved would pay an additional 26 cents an hour for each employee working in Seattle ̵
Another 20 percent would go to the city's Department of Housing and Social Services to support various utilities, including tiny homes, emergency shelters and public health response, and job stability to reduce service providers' revenues. Around $ 3.5 million of this money will be spent on "field safety" measures for people who could not find homes, including garbage collection, portable bathrooms, and the removal of black water.
In the first five years of the tax goal is to build more than 2,000 affordable housing units for people who create 0 to 30 percent or 30 to 60 percent of the region's middle income (AMI), adding 362 beds, two more Support camp and build 100 small houses. Other benchmarks for the first five years are a mobile ambulance truck that disposes of 500,000 pounds of waste and creates five hygiene centers.
Finally, the hourly tax would be waived by 2021 and replaced by a payroll tax of 0.7 percent. These companies would pay more for higher salary positions. Changes that would have retained the tax for the duration as a tax for the duration failed.
A suggestion by Durkan and city council president Bruce Harrell would have halved the tax – amounting to about $ 40 million instead of $ 75 million a year. The spending priorities were switched to homeless and cleanup services and only about 250 housing units were built. This is despite a recent McKinsey report that the region has spent around $ 400 million to solve the homeless crisis – with about 80 percent of that affordable housing affordable. With the report commissioned by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce (for taxation), Harrell and Durkan's proposal failed on Friday in a special session with four to five votes.
Another amendment, City Councilor Kshama Sawant, would have doubled the contribution and revenue. This proposal has also failed. A third proposal would have reduced the tax in the first two years that sponsor Lisa Herbold hoped would make her pass – she denied "no" votes from council members who thought the number was too high and those who thought it was too low. So, in principle, the proposal came out of the committee as it was introduced.
That does not mean the bill will be finalized. Some amendments, which were discussed on Friday, were submitted by Monday to provide further information, such as hospitals exempt from tax.
Durkan, although the original plan had not changed yet, seemed to veto it. I would not say directly if that was the case.
"Together we must do everything we can to support and support good family wage jobs, so I support and sign the one offered today by Council President Harrell and three other Council members," Durkan said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the bill that left the committee hurts the workers by stopping these good jobs, so I can not support them."
"I will continue to work with the Council and hope that the Council will pass a bill that I can sign." Durkan continued.
The measure, sponsored by city councilors Mike O & # 39; Brien Lorena González, Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda, resulted from months of pressure from housing assemblies and handwraps from Seattle business leaders.
O & # 39; Brien had initially submitted a proposal for a poll tax as part of the 2017 urban budget procedure. The measure ultimately failed, but the city council passed a resolution at the end of March 2018 to meet the same funding needs and called a Progressive Revenue Task Force to make recommendations that eventually led to this regulation.
The decree directs to the full council for a possible vote on Monday, May 14.