The Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday evening on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s plan for hiking the Seattle Public Library levy up to over $213.3 million in property taxes over the next seven years.
The new proposal, which first needs to be approved — and possibly modified — by the City Council before before voters get to weigh in in early August, would replace the city’s 2012 levy of $123 million, which was fairly easily approved by voters and expires at the end of this year.
“While Seattle’s voters have historically supported our library system, I don’t take their support for granted,” said Debora Juarez, who chairs the council’s Select Committee on the Library Levy.
The money under the mayor’s plan would increase access to all of the Seattle Public Library’s 26 branches, sustain and raise investments in technology, expand literature purchases, and continue maintenance. Continue reading
Seattle Public Schools is holding public meetings to discuss two levies on the ballot in February’s special election. Thursday night brings the session closest to Capitol Hill at Montlake Elementary:
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will host three community meetings in January to provide information and answer questions about two levies that Seattle voters will consider in a special
election on Feb. 12, 2019. The two levies are the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) and the Building Excellence V Capital Levy (BEX V). If approved, the two levies will replace two expiring levies that voters previously approved in 2013 and 2016. Continue reading
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s week of activity marking the end of her first year in office included a Friday executive order she says was shaped by her Small Business Advisory Council to help small businesses get relief from city taxes and fees and efforts to make it easier for entrepreneurs to navigate the city’s bureaucracy.
The executive order includes three elements:
- Direct the City Budget Office to study ways to reduce the impact of taxes and fees on small businesses, explore a possible holiday from the B&O tax, and look for others ways to support small business employees; and, Continue reading
Attorney General Bob Ferguson and investigators from the Washington State Department of Revenue who started their search at a Broadway restaurant have huevos rancheros on their face after allegations of a $5.6 million tax fraud scheme at the Seattle chain of Tacos Guaymas fizzled into a poquito $750 fine.
“It is really a great example of the philosophical Occam’s razor,” Robert Chicoine, lawyer for Tacos Guaymas owner Salvador Sahagun said in a statement to CHS. “If there are two explanations for an occurrence, the one that requires the least speculation is usually the correct explanation.”
Ferguson’s office charged Sahagun earlier this year with six counts of first-degree theft and three counts of possessing and using sales suppression software in what the AG said was a multi-year scheme to pocket more than $5.6 million in sales tax from cash transactions. Continue reading
A tax on sugary drinks sold in Seattle has produced more money than expected — and the missing Capitol Hill mystery pop machine had nothing to do with it. Now City Hall is sorting out how best to put the healthy revenue from unhealthy — without moderation! — beverages back into the community.
Friday, members of the Seattle City Council met with the Community Advisory Board of the Sweetened Beverage Tax to discuss why the tax exceeded revenue projections, what to do with the extra money, and to make recommendations for how to use the money in the 2018 and 2019 budgets.
“Communities of color and low-income people face the greatest disparities in terms of health and education outcome,” Christina Wong, co-chair of the board tells CHS. Continue reading
Even as they voted to repeal it, Seattle City Council members said Tuesday that an employee hours tax is probably the city’s best route forward to creating an alternative, non-regressive revenue stream to combat Seattle’s affordability crisis. The moves begin, now, to come up with a new, stronger tax plan.
District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, who has claimed the “Tax Amazon movement” as a follow-up to the successful $15 minimum wage fight, will be first out of the gates for shaping what comes next, saying Tuesday in council chambers that a “Tax Amazon Movement: Campaign Launch & Organizing Conference” is still happening. Continue reading
UPDATE 2:10 PM: In a vote interrupted by a chanting crowd and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s refusal to voice her yay or nay despite threats from President Bruce Harrell that he would close council chambers if outbursts continued, the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to repeal the city’s yet-to-be-implemented, unanimously-passed head tax on Seattle’s largest businesses.
As she seemingly goaded on her supporters in the council chambers, Sawant paused and let the chants swell before finally casting her vote against the repeal. Continue reading
If it survives a voter referendum cooked up this week by business and economic groups opposing the plan… And if the spending plan put forward by the City Council somehow can survive mayoral opposition…
How much of the roughly $237 million over five years in head tax revenue will come to Capitol Hill? The short answer is, some, but it’s too early to say exactly. A Seattle City Council resolution, however, gives a starting point. Along with the head tax, the council approved a companion resolution that laid out broad preliminary plans for the windfall of cash.
The resolution is non-binding and could change during the council’s budget process in the fall. Additionally, the Mayor Jenny Durkin’s office has indicated that she opposes the preliminary spending plans, council staff say. Continue reading
A group opposing the tax on Seattle big businesses to help pay for the city’s homelessness services and, hopefully, more affordable housing says it is launching a $300,000 campaign to put a referendum on the ballot to repeal the newly approved legislation.
The No Tax on Jobs campaign launched over the weekend with a website — notaxonjobs.com — and support from heavy hitters like the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Seattle Association.
“The reason we’re starting with a referendum is because we don’t have time to let the council shut down growth like this,” Saul Spady, president of Cre8ive Empowerment and part of the family that own’s Dick’s Drive-in, told Crosscut about the campaign. Continue reading
With reporting and photography by Alex Garland
With its planned vote on a new tax on its largest 3% of Seattle businesses, the city will be up against history Monday afternoon, District 3 representative and Socialist Alternative firebrand Kshama Sawant said Saturday as she prepared to lead her “March on Amazon.”
“This will be a historic victory,” Sawant told CHS. “This will be seen by every city where Amazon is building towers. But also every city in the United States. Because every city is facing a housing and homelessness crisis.”
But first the deals must be struck. Saturday’s march and rally from Capitol Hill on the massive Seattle employer came as Seattle City Hall contemplates two futures for a tax on its largest companies to help pay for affordable housing and homelessness services in a booming city where the problems of people living unsheltered is teetering on disaster. Continue reading