Two proposed ordinances that will increase costs for Seattle businesses to raise funding for growing the Seattle Police Department are scheduled for discussion Wednesday by a Seattle City Council committee. Both ordinances have the objective of increasing revenue for the city to help defray the cost of resources needed for SPD, including 200 more police officers and 911 staffing center needs that a City Hall rep tells CHS have been neglected for some time.
The first ordinance proposes a 3.2% increase in tax rates for most Seattle businesses over a two-year period. City Budget Office director Ben Noble said the proposed tax increase would raise approximately $8 million of more than $20 million total needed to pay for the SPD resources.
The second ordinance proposes an increase in the Business License Tax Certificate Fee and a restructuring of how that fee is determined. The current business license certificate fee is set at $55 for businesses making under $20,000 gross revenue per year and $110 for businesses grossing over $20,000 in revenue annually. Noble says the restructuring and increase would be graded, so that the increase in licensing fee would be smallest for businesses making the lowest amount of gross revenue annually. Noble estimates that the increase and restructuring would net a rough total of $5 million.
This is the first time that the twin pieces of legislation have been brought before the City Council. Noble says that if all goes as planned the ordinances will go in effect for license fees and taxes starting January 1, 2017.
Noble said the Seattle business community has been receptive to the increases because of what the extra revenue generated is earmarked for. “We worked with the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and they indicated support with the understanding that the revenue go to support SPD. It matters to them where the money goes,” Noble said.