I-126, Seattle’s proposed $275 million homelessness levy, is not going to happen.
In one of the fastest political reversals so far in 2017, Mayor Ed Murray said that despite “passionate support,” a campaign to create a new Seattle property tax to support homelessness services has been put on ice just days after its launch.
Murray joined King County Executive Dow Constantine Monday to announce a proposed county ballot measure to boost the county sales tax to pay for new shelters, services, and housing.
Murray said Monday that through the early days of the campaign to gather signatures for I-126, he determined “acting regionally is the only credible response” to the city’s homelessness issues.
Constantine said we must “recognize that homeless is everywhere” and said regional officials have called on federal government for assistance “but that help did not come.”
“Clearly, we are on our own,” Constantine said.
I-126 would have added around 27 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value for property owners to raise around $55 million for improving access to shelter, services and housing, $25 million to increase access to mental and behavioral health services, $10 million for the housing innovation fund, and $185 million to help move people into housing, including subsidies. Subsidies were the top request from homeless people in a recent survey undertaken by the city.
Altogether, I-126 would have raised around $55 million for Seattle homelessness services. Murray said Monday a 0.1% sales tax in King County would raise about $67 million per year. The measure is being planned to come to voters in 2018. Murray faces a reelection battle in 2017.