Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

At Northgate’s Idris Mosque Tuesday morning, Mayor Ed Murray gave his 2017 State of the City address, announcing plans to increase investments to further address homelessness and education disparities, and to continue to support immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Included in the speech were plans to activate a city emergency system usually reserved for bad weather and protests to provide more resources for helping the area’s homeless, a proposal for a $55 million property levy to fund homelessness services, and the floating of a possible Seattle soda tax to help fund schools. Video and the full text of Murray’s speech is below.

For Seattle, the biggest news of the speech will likely be the homeless levy proposal. The plan will go to city voters this August to ask them to approve an increase in the commercial and residential property tax of around $13 per month for the median household, according to the mayor’s office. Murray said that a coalition including entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Daniel Malone, and City Council members Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw will lead an advisory group to create the funding package for the proposal.

The mayor also announced a new offensive to push back on Trump administration immigration policies. Murray said the city will send Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, in response to President Donald Trump’s actions affecting immigrants and refugees. Murray is seeking to determine potential enforcement actions the federal government may take against Seattle and other sanctuary cities and details about changes to travel and immigration policy.

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side,” Murray said, adding that Seattle will take legal action if the federal departments do not provide timely responses.

Murray’s State of the City announcements:

Murray said he also plans to meet with other regional mayors to about remaining safe sanctuary cities.

“Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of the city,” Murray said. “Seattle is a great city because of immigrants and refugees.”

Seattle is also a growing city. Murray said while that growth has occurred where planned, as Seattleites knows, it hasn’t been affordable and the gap between those who are thriving and those who are being displaced is growing.

The updated comprehensive plan aims to maximum the accessibility and vibrancy of Seattle’s neighborhoods. With the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda and the doubling of the Seattle Housing Levy, Murray said the city is moving toward tripling the production of affordable housing units in a decade. Since January 2015, 5,800 affordable housing units have been built or are in the works, but more are needed.

The city is also still under a state of emergency with its 3,000 homeless people. Murray wants to double the city’s budget for combating homelessness.

Wednesday, Murray plans to activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center, which is typically only activated during severe storms, major events, and natural disasters, to assist homeless people.

Murray declared the homelessness crisis 15 months ago hoping for federal assistance and the city budgeted $108 million for homeless services for the past two years. The Pathways Home plan to get people into housing through individualized services is also underway. Murray had hoped for a partnership with the federal government, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, the administration will push forward the homelessness levy proposal this summer as Murray also faces his first race for re-election since he joined City Hall after a string of victories in Olympia.

At the address, Murray also announced an action plan derived from last April’s citywide education summit. The plan includes annual investments in early education, before and after school programs, family engagement, summer learning, mentoring, and college and career readiness as well as a one-time expansion of a program that pays for student’s first year of community college.

Along with pledges from various partners, Murray plans to present the City Council with a proposal for a 2 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, estimated to raise nearly $16 million annually toward the education plans.

Murray also announced a new focus to improve the lives of young black men ages 14-24 called Our Best: Seattle’s Commitment to Young Black Men. The program, which aims to double the number of black men mentors, seeks to increase graduation rates, meaningful employment, and good health and reduce the number of black men entering the criminal justice system.

Since Murray first took office, police reform has been an issue. Data shows improvements, the mayor said, and legislation is working its way through City Hall to provide the public with a role in holding the Seattle Police Department accountable with subpoena power and legal authority to review police policies and practices through a transformation of the Community Police Commission.

Seattle’s challenges are not unique, but its solutions are a model for other cities and communities in the country. Even under the current administration, there are ways to move forward, Murray said.

“We cannot wait. Seattle must keep moving forward,” he said.

This was Murray’s first State of the City address delivered outside of City Hall.

“The state of our nation impacts the state of our city,” Murray said. “As the federal government’s actions serve to stigmatize the Muslim community we are taking the unprecedented step today of meeting in Idris Mosque, the oldest traditionally built mosque west of the Mississippi (River).”

“Our mission is simple,” Hisham Farajallah, Idris Mosque Board of Trustees, said. “Our mission is to dispel myths about Islam and to strengthen society by demonstrating our commitment to peace, prosperity and positive relationships,” Farajallah said.

You can read the full prepared address at murray.seattle.gov.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

45 thoughts on “Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

    • It appears it is anymore. Between the war on homeowners and the war on cars, the city won’t be satisfied till we’re all in rent-subsidized apartments and taking the bus or Über everywhere.

    • The City is already spending ALOT of money on homeless services, yet the problem is getting worse here (but not overall in the country). So, now, Murray wants to spend even more of property owners’ money. Something is wrong here. He is going to have to convince me that the additional funds will actually make a difference. I’m skeptical.

  1. Our socialist utopia wants to throw money at everything while solving nothing while standing by as we all get priced out. They already spend 44m on the homeless and are talking about 3000 people out of a population of 660,000. One would think they could resolve local homelessness for that number for less than 44+m and not attract all comers from across the country for the generous programs. How about a tax on tech workers if the city wants to tax and spend further on this subject.

    • steven.. quick question… do you think his “”estimate””‘ or 3000 homeless is accurate… just something to think about… I bet it’s more like 10,000

    • I realize the math doesn’t go this straight, but… that 44m amounts to $15,000 per person, which isn’t much in the way of assistance, even if all of it went straight into a person’s pocket. Moreover, there are varying stages/states of homelessness… further complicating the matter.

      All that said, I tend to agree with you. And not because I can’t take on more taxes as a homeowner – even when I do bristle every time – but, because this mayor hasn’t been able to convert on promises to make progress in this issue area. He declared a State of Emergency, he committed to over a 1000 tiny homes that would be transitional and I think I read something like less than 50 were built. I know there are issues around the locales of which, but… yeah, we can’t just give this mayor more to use when he doesn’t have a single idea of his own, nor the follow-through on any of his promises.

      I think to you point: The problem exists NOW. There are resources NOW. And there is little be done with it now. So…

  2. Sigh…..I’m having a hard time remembering why I voted for him. In hindsight McGinn probably would have been better…..a little bit anyway. I’m really tired of all politicians in Seattle. Something has got to change. This used to be a pretty cool City. Not anymore.

  3. My property taxes went up over $1000 this year. I don’t own a car, or I understand there would be sticker shock there, too. I don’t understand what I’m getting in return. Our city has never been more expensive and less affordable for all but the highest earners, and has never looked worse with all the trash everywhere. Our city leaders spend all their time addressing national issues, while ignoring pressing local concerns. Something is not adding up here.

  4. Before we throw more money at homeless solutions, I’d like to know why the considerable amount of money already spent has made so little difference. More of the same doesn’t seem like a good solution.

  5. When I hear things like a “soda tax” its not possible for me to roll my eyes back far enough. This is when our city leaders lose me and my support.

    How much does it cost this city to implement and sustain programs that scrape up nickels and dimes here and there. We must have an army on the back end managing these programs.

    Enough already.

  6. Murray refused to listen to the experts. He’s responsible for the extent of the homeless problem. Now, since he’s wasted all of his homelessness funds on programs that the experts said were a waste of money and would make the problem worse he wants more money. He states we have a lack of affordable housing and now wants to raise property taxes. Is that insanity or what? Each tax hike raises rents, makes it harder for the elderly and working people to stay in their houses. Where are the candidates to take this guy on? This should be an easy win for a good middle of the road candidate.

    • This is exactly why trying to tax and subsidize your way out of homeless problems will NEVER work. Someone has to pay for the relief for the people who get it. Every levy makes costs on those fewer and fewer go higher, and makes the divide wider between them and the people on the low end. It just makes it worse as people in the middle are driven out of the city.

      The only thing that can fix this is JOBS– not subsidies. We have all these high-tech companies with thousands of employees making tons of money– but when do we ever ask these companies to help be part of the solution? Where are the high-tech job TRAINING programs, that might actually create jobs so people can become self-sufficient? You better believe people would jump at the chance. That’s the only way that works in the long-run, because subsidy programs eventually dry up. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime (or woman!)”.

  7. Last fall,the times did an article on the 46 million dollars being spent on the homeless in Seattle. They were going to evaluate which of the programs they were funding, and which weren’t. Then the ones that were working would be supported. Now, no discussion of that study, just putting out a request for $56 million more. That’s $100 million dollars. And no information on what was working. This is irresponsible from my perspective.

  8. I have long been asking for actual data on our homeless and the impact of past programs on the current population. There is at least a strong correlation between the recent 10 year plan to end King County homelessness and the surge in homeless on the streets.

    http://kuow.org/post/after-10-year-plan-why-does-seattle-have-more-homeless-ever

    There is but one debunked study claiming the majority of street homeless are from the area. The increase is sizable over the past 3 years on my route to work. We never used to see so many camped out by the Freeway entrances near 45th, in doorways of stores on Pike and so on.

    Despite the millions, questions are avoided because if the answers include evidence that we have been rewarded for past efforts by a conscious influx from less generous and less tolerant places. Check out this interesting photo essay:

    https://psmag.com/radical-efforts-to-end-homelessness-inside-the-tent-cities-of-seattle-9144cf802e13#.6vbhz4t2r

    Most of those featured came here recently. They have not been ‘displaced’ due to rising rent. They can only pay free rent courtesy of the rest of us. While anecdotal, virtually every article or mention of a homeless individual or group that asks there origin show the majority to be from elsewhere and arrived here in the past several years.

    Which begs the question of what 55 million would accomplish and how it is substantively different than past efforts. I vote for zero on services based upon the past fail.

    I would be sold on spending millions on zero tolerance enforcement of trespass and other laws, and bus/plane tickets back to cities of origin for those from other places. It would take far less than 55 million to ensure that no tent on public property lasts an hour, and keep these folks on the run till they leave out of fatigue, or in some cases actually get treatment and stop their toxic behaviors.

    I would bet serious change that spending 55 mm will do nothing measurable to decrease the problem and like prior spending will entice more dysfunctional people to our fair city.

    This is an urgent situation and calls for doing different, not doing more, and tough nasty steps to make Seattle a less compassionate and welcome place for those who take everything and give nothing. The only way to meaningful solve the situation with a large visible group of the homeless is to take measures that make Seattle an unpleasant place to arrive to or stay at, like many of them are doing to the rest of us.

    Why our politicians spend so much time and propose such spending on this constituency is beyond me and a good reason to replace the whole slate.

    If you want to get more info on the homeless establishment, dive into the postings on http://roominate.com/blog/

    By the way, I still consider myself a liberal, but a realist.

    • “I disagree with data, therefore will use anecdotes to make sweeping statements on the origin of the homeless and diminish the impact of raising rents and diminishing job prospects for working-class and less-educated folks.”

  9. Does anyone realize that the property tax rate in Seattle is the lowest it’s been since 2010? You are wrong if you believe the property tax rate has increased recently. It has not.
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/Reports/levy-rate-info.aspx
    Please don’t complain about your property taxes, and refuse to help people living outside. You sound arrogant. Also, this logic of, “well we already spent a much of money, and we still have homeless people, so it didn’t work” is absurd. We also have increasingly terrible traffic, should we stop trying to fix that problem?

    • Whether or not the rate has increased, the assessed value of nearly everyone’s property has risen- for many people that still means a considerable amount more in taxes- higher rates or not. My property tax hasn’t been quite as rampant as the last person’s but it has gone up by a bit more than $1000 over the last 3 years.

      Why berate people for being concerned? It doesn’t sound arrogant to me – do you think everyone’s wages have kept up with inflation? Or that all of the people who live here now came in recently and all have high paying jobs and an expectation of high tax bills? Do you think that this hasn’t put a lot of pressure on some people? People who probably have experienced a 4 or 5 fold increase in the value of their homes?

      You sound arrogant.. you seem to be making the assumption that all property owners are rich and can afford it… try to not forget that no matter how much real estate is worth, the homeowner doesn’t realize anything unless they sell and forcing people out of their homes is what we are trying to avoid..

    • “Please don’t complain about your property taxes”

      When the city seems to be wasting millions of dollars on a problem that is only getting worse, *and* the mayor then wants to levy even more property tax on the residents of one of America’s most expensive cities (who are already suffering from some of the highest rents and housing costs in the entire nation), then yeah, people are going to complain and are going to call out the mayor on this.

      Remember, property taxes don’t just impact actual property owners. They are passed right on down to renters, too. If you can afford this additional cost, then that is great, I’m happy for you.

      A lot of people in Seattle are struggling just to pay their rent or mortgage in this hyper-inflated market. None of my coworkers can even find a place to buy in the city that is remotely within their price range. And yet we’re discussing even more property tax, for a problem that is getting worse and worse. What the hell did the mayor do with the $47 million last year? Something is not adding up.

      Again, asking questions and demanding answers and transparency from our leaders is as American as apple pie. But I’m sure they much prefer people like you, ready to hand over all your money, no questions asked.

    • I think you are privileged to have an asset that is rapidly increasing in value. I don’t think property tax is a very good tax, but I think you are still very privelaged in comparison to people living and often dying on the streets. if you are a homeowner you should also remember that the government helped you buy your home and you are living in subsidized housing. When asked to pay your share for others you should say yes. I think the city should find a way to help low income folks with their property tax bills. But if ours making $70.000 a year and now living in a million dollar home it might be time to downsize to something you can afford. At least you have a home.

    • Why the snark? My only point is that opposing property taxes to fund homelessness services is hipocritical when you have a place where you can sleep well at night that is subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of $100 Billion annually. If it were up to me the MID would I cut and those $$ would be put in to ending the national tragedy of mass homelessness, but that’ll probably never happen, so instead the city will raise property taxes, which isn’t good, but will save lives

    • Get off of your high horse Problem… it doesn’t take a multi-million dollar house to create a big tax bill – taxes are around 10% of the assessed value of the house here in Seattle right now. That means that the tax bill for a *very modest* small home these days is upwards of 4-5 thousand dollars a year. This is a lot of money for some people- people who bought their house 10 or 20 years ago with the idea that home ownership means stability.
      And it’s not like the rise in value of their house benefits them in any way – all it does is make them look better on paper… Even if they were to sell and realize that gain – where are they going to go? They certainly wouldn’t be able to find something they could afford in the area any more. I am fortunate that I can afford to stay in my home, but I absolutely do not advocate putting other people at risk of losing theirs in the name of solving homelessness…

    • If that tax bill is super burdensome, there’s a good chance they’re living beyond their means anyway. If they’re on a fixed income, they have other options available, like reverse mortgages.

      A $400/month property tax bill—which is a much more reasonable way of looking at your yearly taxes, instead of the scary “Oh god, $5K!”—shouldn’t be an issue for someone who’s been living in a house for 10-20 years; that person’s mortgage, assuming they haven’t paid their place off, is probably a few hundred dollars a month. They will still be under the average rent for even the most basic studio unit in Capitol Hill.

      It’s the more recent purchasers that are more boned, particularly if they were on the edge of being able to afford their place anyway. But they made a poor decision; never borrow what the bank says you can afford.

      (And yeah, people forget that property taxes actually went down a couple of years ago as a few levies expired.)

      Look, no one wants to pay more in taxes. But the whining from the privileged few—and I include myself in this list, because I own my place, and yeah, my property taxes increased about 15% this year—is a bit much.

    • Privelege – Whether one can afford their taxes or not ought not be the only issue. Rather, the question is whether we collectively want to spend on this issue and whether this spend does anything other than create more inflow of homeless. I run a business and have to live within my means. 10% price increases would not cut it with my clients. Our city has unilaterally decided the other week to increase parental leave for fathers and mothers, and paid leave to care for sick family members – quite massively, in a way that is vastly more than most businesses large or small. Why? Because they could! Our city under the guise of social justice is really engaged in a money grab from one group to another, with little to no accountability. I have commented above on the homeless issue which is out of control in spite of, or because of ongoing efforts and spending. I won’t repeat what I already wrote above. Those of us who are being asked to shoulder the burden of expenses for this and other causes have an absolute right to question, hopefully at the ballot box but to date I have no wind of any candidates who are not birds of a feather to our current mayor and council.

    • Come on Privledge – you are making some big assumptions – yeah that’s true for *some* of us. I happen to live in a two income household without kids. We did pay it off early – as much because we were LUCKY – it was the 90’s and refinancing was stupidly easy – than because of anything we were doing right…

      We have been here 20 years – in fact almost exactly 20, we bought this house in February of 97′. If we’d had kids, any sort of financial difficulties (medical expenses etc) or even just been a bit less savvy and lucky we could very well be only 2/3rds of the way through a 30 year mortgage and still paying not only $400 a month in taxes, but $1000 more in mortgage – not a few hundred for sure… and still be in much better shape than people who got in just a few years later (our house basically doubled in value in the first 4 years we owned it..), who’s mortgage payments are probably in the $2000’s and might not have been able to refinance so easily and cheaply after the sub-prime mortgage collapse..

      I think I can question this move not for selfish reasons – I freely admit I’m one of the lucky ones that arrived at the right time and can afford to stay where I’m at, but for those people for whom the current 5X increase in their taxes already does pose a problem. We should now saddle them with more? Talk about a regressive tax… it burdens people because of their paper “wealth” that they don’t have any access to without giving up that very asset.. You want a new tax that doesn’t threaten to throw people out of their houses? How about an income tax instead?

    • I think the word “privileged” is way over-used on this blog. It is often inaccurate when describing a person, and it comes across as a pejorative.

    • Bob, are you denying that someone who owns a home or is renting a home is not privileged in comparison to someone living on the streets? What word would you suggest? “Lucky”, “blessed”? It’s funny how quickly people become offended by the word privilege.

    • Well Problem – your using privileged does carry the implication that the people who are home owners were somehow granted what they have and did nothing to deserve it and conversely that all homeless people don’t have any responsibility for their own situation either.

      definition.. priv·i·lege
      ˈpriv(ə)lij/
      noun
      noun: privilege; plural noun: privileges

      1. a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

      I will have already said I do feel lucky – but make no mistake at all – We’ve also worked hard for what we have. We both worked our way through college so that we could get good jobs. We bought a house that didn’t overextend our means even as young people without a lot of savings, that needed work and we’ve done that work – ourselves. We chose to pay off our mortgage early rather than do stuff like buy new cars or the latest home electronics. We chose to not have kids.

      Do I feel lucky in some ways – yes. I arrived here just before the boom – so there were still houses available at a reasonable cost (though it seemed exorbitant at the time). We found the right house just when we were ready to buy one and were able to get it. We were also able to quickly and easily refinance it to a much shorter loan, partly due the rising price of real estate (which meant we had a lot of equity despite not actually having paid down much of the loan) and the somewhat questionable loan practices of the times.

      However do I feel privileged to own a house.. by the definition above, no not really. We certainly did not just sit back and wait for this to happen, we worked for it and if we had a little luck along the way, it still wouldn’t have happened without the hard work too.

    • CD neighbor: thanks! I was going to write a reply to “problem solver,” but you said it for me. Most people who own a home have, like you, worked hard for it (preceded in many cases with years in school to get a good education). They are not “privileged.” They are prudent and smart and they deserve what they have.

  10. My main concerns are that the more we tax residents to pay for services to the homeless, the more homeless we will have–a never-ending spiral of need. And, that significant increases in property taxes hurt people of fixed income (think stagnant wages, low COL social security increases). My property tax went up 25% this year!!! Each levy by itself doesn’t seem like much money but when you add them up (ST3, schools, housing, library, medical assistance etc), we’re talking real money.

    Another concern I have is the degradation of the neighborhood in terms of graffiti, trash, and people hanging out indefinitely in the parks and back alleys, often engaging in drug use that makes people feel unsafe. I support efforts to help people get jobs, stay clear and sober, and find strategies for having a better life. We need to know which strategies are effective and how best to deploy them to those who would be best helped.

    • Lee your concerns are totally legit. See waste and nuisance on the street does make places fee unsafe, but it’s important to remember that it is actually much more unsafe for people living outside than for us housed folks. The money the city has been spending over the past years has housed thousands of people and saved us as taxpayers a boatload. Can you imagine what it would be like if all the formerly
      Homeless people in our city we’re still in our streets? Things would be much worse and more costly for emergency services. It’s also a myth that services attract people who are homeless to Seattle. We have some of the longest waitlista for housing in the country. What attracts people to Seattle is high wages and low unemployment. Of all the people that are attracted to the city some end up becoming homeless because they don’t have the skills for our workplace, or can’t afford housing on our lowest wages. This is why when unemployment in Seattle goes down homelessness goes up.

    • Are you saying people are like pigeons? That’s disgusting. I’m sure the other folks on this thread will chime in and defend their fellow humans from your attack?…

  11. Yes, the pigeon analogy may be tacky, but if we just stick to the concept that free stuff and tolerance invites people with no stuff and no willingness or ability to earn stuff by work and gratification deferment – to leave places where tolerance is less and there is not as much free stuff. How do we explain the massive increase of people on our streets assuming that they have arrived in significant numbers from elsewhere? Curious how the actual numbers and data is not being collected, allowing attacks on conjecture. But in science one starts with a hypothesis and tests it if it is a worthy and relevant area of inquiry. I think that the migration patterns of Seattle’s homeless are very relevant but that the advocates and the politicians who support them do not want to study the issues, much like the NRA has gotten the govt to prohibit any NIH funding on gun violence. Data hurts their agenda. I will shut up if credible studies show that the majority of Seattle’s street homeless were gainfully employed and housed in Seattle and fell victim to rent increases and other misfortune. But somehow the folks I see don’t look like they had a job to pay any rent here 3 years ago. I have previously posted above some relevant references. Some think the best path is unconditional compassion and check-writing with our taxes. I think that this is folly and we will be rewarded with an infinite supply of incoming homeless that will outnumber any housing created and drown us in social service, mental health and criminal justice costs – not to mention a sense of shame a the cesspool our streets, highways and rights of ways have become. Folks around the world see images of our city and use it to portray us as a failed city if not nation.

    • It’s simply untrue that data is not being collected and analyzed. Please see this system performance dashboard. You are using anecdotal information form a photo essay to say that people are coming to Seattle because of service availability. You’re whole argument is anecdotal conjecture. Many people come to Seattle because they think we have high wages, and low unemployment. Some for the people that come become homeless for a number of reasons. It’s much like California during the dust bowl. Or Seattle, during the gold rush. Sure some guy will make some money and start Bartell Drugs, but others will become broke and homeless. This is the nature of a boom city.

  12. @The Problem Solver
    I have been clear that data on origins of the street homeless in Seattle is absent. Anecdotes are not a substitute for data. Isn’t it curious and relevant that the so called data, for example at:
    http://allhomekc.org/the-problem/#demographics fails to ask and answer whether the homeless are from the area. The tired data on ‘last permanent zipcode’ is meaningless since they have refused to provide raw data, fail to define what they mean by permanent, did not verify, had many non-answers and in general did not ask the simple and specific questions that would get to the heart of determining migratory patterns. Questions like:
    How long have you lived in King County?
    If not a long-term resident, say more than 5-10 years, follow up with questions like: When and why did you come to Seattle?
    Where were you living a year ago, 5 years ago etc?
    When and where was your last job?

    If the answers provided evidence that a great many, say 50% came to King County in the past 5 years, this would be important to know, as well as the reasons.

    But the advocates want to address what is in front of them, even if by doing so might bring another flock of homeless to the region.

    You are absolutely correct that anecdotes are all I have. But nobody has more than that because those spending millions on the homeless are avoiding asking simple questions because they know darn well what the answers will be and the working people of this town will be livid when it gets out.

    • Thank you for this. Even after the massive cleanup of the Jungle, our city didn’t know what happened to most of the people camped out there:

      “Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez noted that only about 25 percent of those who had camped in The Jungle were placed in shelters or housing after intensive outreach by the city. The rest, presumably, moved to another outdoor location.”

      So after months of outreach and work down there, they just don’t know? The lack of data, and the total lack of transparency, is highly concerning.

      And for those commenting that Seattle’s property owners are basically heartless for speaking out against this levy, please note – we just approved a $290 million dollar levy for affordable housing LAST AUGUST. By a large margin. Like 68% of voters. I voted for it. Seattle voters routinely approve levies for housing, schools, parks, and transit – it’s almost a given that we will approve these additional taxes *on ourselves* because we believe in contributing to the greater good.

      Now the mayor wants another $55 million, on top of the $46-50 million spent in 2016 on homelessness. How was that money spent, and why did our homeless crisis skyrocket at the same time? Why is Seattle/King County the 15th or 16th largest metro area in the U.S., but 4th in the country for its homeless population?

      The mayor and the council cannot, or more likely, will not, answer. So we need to poke and prod and push and ask very pointed questions, and demand this information from our *elected* *representatives* (they seem to be forgetting the fact that both can be revoked by the voters come the next election). I, for one, am not willing to give Murray another dime until he can account for the tens of millions spent last year, and explain how this additional levy is not going to be money tossed to the wind.

    • Thanks to both of you for pointing out the obvious…..that in all likelihood it is a myth that most of the homeless are long-term residents of our area…and it is a myth that the city officials like to perpetuate, because otherwise there will be a loss to support for all the homeless services we taxpayers provide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *