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:
- Police accountability
- Building affordable housing across Seattle
- New Investments in Eliminating Educational Disparities
- New Sugary Beverage Tax to Fund Eliminating Educational Disparities
- Our Best: Seattle’s Commitment to Young Black Men
- Homelessness Response Consolidated Action Plan
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.” Continue reading