VIDEO: What’s in the ‘head tax’ the City Council unanimously passed

(Seattle Channel video of this afternoon’s council meeting – public comment at 17:58, tax items at 59:08)

Ample citywide coverage of the City Council’s final vote on the “head tax” this afternoon – but we’re noting it here anyway. For one, the two West Seattle-residing councilmembers – District 1’s Lisa Herbold and citywide Position 9’s Lorena González – led the task force that brought the concept to the council in the first place. From the official news release, details on the compromise that passed in a 9-0 vote:

… The amended proposal establishes an annual tax of $275 per full-time employee on the City’s largest businesses, those with revenues of more than $20 million (about 3% of all businesses). The measure would generate an estimated $47 million annually and end on December 31, 2023.

… Selected highlights of the amended ordinance include:

*Exempt Seattle’s small and medium-sized businesses, only applying to those with at least $20 million or more annually in taxable gross receipts as measured under the City’s existing Business & Occupation tax;

*Apply only to the City’s approximately 585 largest businesses, or approximately 3% of all Seattle businesses;

*Require large businesses to pay $275 per full-time equivalent employee working 1,920 hours per year (or about $0.14 per hour);

*Include an evaluation of the economic impacts, and an independent oversight committee; and,

*Exempt healthcare providers that provide at least 25% of their services to patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid as well as all hospitals. …

You can read the amended plan here. Here’s some of what’s happened in the hours since the council vote:

*Mayor Durkan said, “I plan to sign this bill” (here’s video of her news conference; here’s her statement)

*Amazon said it’s “disappointed” and “apprehensive” (GeekWire.com coverage)

The tax starts in January. But first, as was noted in Q&A at Durkan’s news conference, a spending plan has to be finalized for the money it will raise.

135 Replies to "VIDEO: What's in the 'head tax' the City Council unanimously passed"

  • trump won May 14, 2018 (8:48 pm)

    thank you ! fools!

  • The King May 14, 2018 (8:52 pm)

    Sawant said “this just proves you can fight a company like Amazon and win”…..so this really is about her personal mission to destroy Amazon, not homelessness. 

    • Sw May 14, 2018 (9:47 pm)

      And where is she selling her new book?  Yep – Amazon.com. 

      Hypocrite. 

    • Buttercup May 14, 2018 (9:59 pm)

      I certainly hope that Ms. Sawant isn’t becoming full of herself. She thinks they won against Amazon? In the end Amazon holds the purse strings and let’s watch what they do. The battle lines are drawn I fear.

      • Kshama's a Fraud May 15, 2018 (9:28 am)

        Becoming full of herself?  Kshama Sawant is a megalomaniacal demagogue.  She has displayed all of the clinical signs of narcissistic personality disorder since her first appearance on Seattle’s political scene.

        The truth is she’s pulling a major con.  The political agitation is brand building.  Her ‘donation’ of half her Council salary goes right back into her pocket through hubby Calvin Priest’s ‘work’ on Sawant’s ‘movement’.

        She exploits the shameful ignorance of her base, and her many promises of taxpayer funded goodies to various interest groups in her district.

        She’s the Kshamagogue.  The shout heard round the world.

    • Peter May 15, 2018 (2:17 am)

      No, Sawant’s extremist socialist goal to destroy ALL businesses, not just Amazon.

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed May 14, 2018 (9:06 pm)

    Amazon nailed it spot-on:  “the city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem.”.  That summarizes our entire city government on so many matters.

    • WR May 16, 2018 (8:29 pm)

      In 2010 Seattle had
      600,000 residents and the budget was 3.8B. There was a budget shortfall that
      year and they borrowed approx. 40m. Still the budget works out to $6,337 per
      person. In 2018 the estimate is around 700,000 residents, and the budget is
      scheduled to be 5.3B. That works out to $7,794 per person. I’m sure these
      numbers are open for debate (got financial data off Seattle website and
      population somewhere on the web), but you get the idea.  The pothole in my
      street is still there. I have not added any kids to the school system. I don’t
      pull any money from the system that I am aware of. No new roads have been built
      in my area. etc. And by the way, I don’t mind paying my fair share.

      Amazon has inadvertently created some problems here, but as you
      can see they have clearly had a hand in creating some benefits as well. And
      during this time period you can throw a dart on a map and come up with a city
      in this country that would like to be in that position. There are a lot of
      cities out there STILL struggling post 2009.  The city council has been
      presented with a problem, but instead of trying to solve this problem that most
      cities would love to have they instead have chosen to lash out at tax payers.
      You know, the people who give them all the money they spend. These people and
      all other city employees work for US. ALL OF US!

      I urge people to watch the city council meeting video where they
      voted for this head tax. It was a real eye opener. The entire city council – to
      a person –  has taken an activist position and is not interested in
      representing their districts, only a subset. I watched most of it, and not once
      did I hear from any of the nine members any discussion about the pros and cons
      of this tax. Most if not all of them essentially apologized for not being able
      to impose the full $500 per person tax. That was it. That was the extent of the
      discussion. 

      This is a tax that was targeted at capitalism. Plain and simple.
      They sought to take from the biggest companies, and didn’t stop to consider the
      ramifications. Not every company GROSSING $20m is pulling obscene amounts of
      money in like Amazon. If you made $20m and have 1% margins like a grocery store
      supposedly does, that leaves $200,00 profit (most extreme example I realize,
      but the math is simple!). Let’s say that grocery store has 150 employees –
      that’s $41,500 off that $200,000. That’s significant. The architects of this
      tax would expect that to be taken directly from the “Rich” owner’s
      bank account. A business owner will raise prices, lay off employees, in order
      to maintain their profit margin. That’s business. And that’s the problem with
      socialism. They impose idealistic rules on people and of course expect an
      equally ideal outcome. When that doesn’t happen, the next step is usually force.
      Hence the proposal by someone to charge Amazon with a crime for announcing they
      may leave the city.

      I’ll wrap this up by
      pointing out an article that was in Seattle Times last week about the
      mismanaged pension system for Seattle employees. There was some figure floated
      in the article that said employees paid 70M into the system and taxpayers paid
      110M. This fund has been mismanaged over the past 10 years and the article
      pointed out that only growth can keep this system from falling further behind.
      You could certainly argue that the tax just imposed will directly impact that
      growth and therefore will directly impact the retirement of city employees.
      This is simply a stunning level of incompetence on the part of our elected city
      officials.  

  • MJ May 14, 2018 (9:13 pm)

    This is a horrible harbinger of how anti business this Council has gotten.  The City tax revenues have increased significantly already in the past few years more taxing was not needed.  

    Enough already please

    • AJP May 14, 2018 (9:21 pm)

      I see people say this, and that there’s inefficiencies. I’m pretty ignorant as to exactly how much revenues have increased, through which means, and how spending is wasted. Do you have any links to any good articles? It’s probably good to educate myself about it.

      • Paulie May 15, 2018 (7:23 am)

        I doubt MJ has any of that information either, or the others who whine so loudly.  Its easy to complain and recite chamber talking points, it’s harder to have an informed discussion.  

        • thruth May 15, 2018 (8:27 am)

          “City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018. This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem.”

          This is public record folks.  We added 1.6 billion dollars to the budget. Also businesses make up over 60% of the cities revenue.  That far out paces most major cities.  Amazon paid over 250 million in state and local taxes last year.  what is their fair share?

        • candrewb May 15, 2018 (8:40 am)

          Actually city revenues have increased 35% during the last five years. The population has increased 11%. City spending has increased 39% during the same period. And an additional 1200 employees were hired under Murray.

          • Katie May 16, 2018 (5:12 am)

             A city needs more employees when it has more people to serve. What I’m more concerned about (since there is greater opportunity for graft and waste) is city contracts and who’s getting them. 

      • neighbor May 15, 2018 (3:48 pm)

        @AJP (and anyone else who’s curious), this is a good read:

        https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/pathwayshome/BPA.pdf

        • AJP May 15, 2018 (8:34 pm)

          Thank you, I’ll give it a read! 

  • Quora May 14, 2018 (9:19 pm)

    Is it too much to ask city government to come up with some kind of legitimate and comprehensive plan before deciding to tax companies based on head count? And I don’t mean a plan that starts with “fight homelessness”; I mean an actual plan that can be discussed by the citizenry and commented on. You can’t just keep throwing money at this problem; is the city government going to explain what they have been doing wrong with the hundreds of millions they have been spending considering the homeless problem has gotten worse? Accountability, anyone?

    • Out for a walk May 14, 2018 (9:39 pm)

      Totally agree!

    • Trnsprncy May 15, 2018 (10:40 am)

      Absolutely agree!  No more taxing until we have a plan that is transparent, available, and easily understood by all.  Next election is 2019, is that right?!  Amazon may wait until the next election, but maybe not.  Hostile business environment.

  • sleepernw May 14, 2018 (9:19 pm)

    Enough with the taxes ….  anti business not helping anyone out 

  • 1994 May 14, 2018 (9:36 pm)

    Who will this tax truly be paid by? Why you and me in the form of raised prices by the businesses.  Businesses will not absorb this extra tax out of the goodness of doing business. I enjoy supporting journalism  and have been a subscriber for many years to The Seattle Times but if the prices increase I may have to reconsider continuing my subscription.  I read they too would be effected by this tax.

    Between Trump and my employer I got a $160 monthly net pay increase in January.  Just received my escrow statement which indicates my mortgage is increasing $146 monthly….there goes the pay raise – gone to pay higher taxes and a slight homeowners insurance increase.  

    • Paulie May 15, 2018 (7:25 am)

      I wonder how big Trump’s Amazon’s tax cut was?  I suspect it would more than cover 14c an hour per employee.

  • PW May 14, 2018 (9:38 pm)

    I suggest the council members get their resumes updated it is time to get some sense back in the City.

    Do you recall the Boeing layoffs  in the late 60’s early 70’s. will the last one out of the City please turn the lights off.

    I think we are ready to turn the lights off.

     Complete inadequate ability to govern and listen to the people.  

  • nr0ti May 14, 2018 (9:40 pm)

    This was a bad move.

  • Howard May 14, 2018 (9:49 pm)

    damn anti business thinking, nothing must stand in the way of 3% growth in GDP, expand expand, jobs jobs jobs, until we consume the planet! 

  • Gene May 14, 2018 (9:53 pm)

    Quora- yes in Seattle it is too much to ask for them to actually come up with a solid plan- with facts that can be discussed. 

    Seattle government doesn’t know the meaning of the word accountability – but unless we demand accountability- why should they provide it?

    The mantra here is—money money money.

    I am very disappointed in Lisa Herbold – who will no longer have my vote- as well as Mayor Durkin. 

    • CandrewB May 15, 2018 (6:13 am)

      And to think she seemed the better choice than Braddock. I suspect Tavel wouldn’t have voted for this…At least we’re woke!

  • Mike May 14, 2018 (10:08 pm)

    Seattle City Council is an absolute joke.   This write-up is a great explanation of the fraud Sawant is https://sccinsight.com/2018/04/20/kshama-sawant-the-art-of-the-self-deal/ and she never released her taxes when she first ran for council since she joint filed with her ex-husband who works/worked for Microsoft.  She seems to have a lot in common with Trump.  They both fail to opening showcase their taxes, have shell companies and hate Amazon and Bezos.

  • Gianni May 14, 2018 (10:15 pm)

    Lisa Herbold has lost my vote. She was one of the architects for this tax and she should be held accountable at the ballot! She won her Council seat by less than 1% of the vote and does not have a mandate to impose her ideological policies on our city. She boasts about her “model policies,” yet does not seem to have a problem with all of the tax money being spent to defend these policies in court (many of which have been ruled against!). 

    The mainstream media has fixated on Sawant and O’Brien, but our District 1 representative is as toxic to our city as those other two. 

    • Out for a walk b May 15, 2018 (12:00 am)

      Totally agree….. She will not have my vote. She is against businesses and particularly small businesses that create jobs. 

    • Peter May 15, 2018 (2:19 am)

      Lisa Herbold never had my vote. I do not vote for economic illiterates, which Herbold has always been. Herbold is as bad as Sawant. 

      • Trnsprncy May 15, 2018 (10:48 am)

        Exactly, Peter!  They do not understand basic economics.  These are politicians who are activists and idealogues – not people like the working people of Seattle who understand that to under perform results in no paycheck.  At a minimum they should be made to demonstrate – with hard data –  what they have done for the homeless with revenue already collected.

        • PATRICK May 15, 2018 (2:42 pm)

           You are  correct.  Unfortunately, this area seems to elect activists/idealogues first and foremost without any regard for leadership or experience.  Say a few fancy phrases that get a far left electorate excited and all of a sudden we have a city council that is driving this city down a dark and dismal path.   Anybody, except the extreme ideologues, can see this.   I would sign a petition to recall Herbold immediately, and include the rest of the council as well.     

          • B.W. May 15, 2018 (3:53 pm)

            You have my signature to recall Herbold. 

          • ttt May 15, 2018 (4:39 pm)

            I’d like to recall Herbold as well. I didn’t vote for her and she has not done one thing that is in line with improving our city.

  • Seattlite May 14, 2018 (10:17 pm)

    Durkan just proved herself as another gutless wonder mayor.  Too bad corporations equal jobs, security for families, medical insurance coverages, wages for mortgages/rents, college funds, groceries. Take away all the businesses/corporations from a city and the city gets sick and then lies down and dies. This same scenario has happened in other far left/socialist  run cities. I hope moderate voters wake up after this huge snafu by the mayor and city council.

  • WSRes May 14, 2018 (10:53 pm)

    Vote

    Them

    Out

  • T May 14, 2018 (10:57 pm)

    ^^^^^^^ All of the above, really happy to see people thinking this way (finally).

  • WSRob May 14, 2018 (11:15 pm)

    Our mayor and city council, has shown in no uncertain terms, that they are completely out of their league.  They have no clue as to how to handle the homeless/opioid crisis (enforce the LAW) other than throw money at the problem, no accountability to the majority of the citizens they purportedly work for, and have no vision other than their own misguided mantra to eliminate big companies from this city.  There can be only one solution.  Recall them all!  A vote of No confidence.  Waiting for the next election cycle is too far off.  And no, I don’t work for Amazon, or Starbucks…  Dow and King County have to be next, and on to the state legislature and governor.  Enough is enough.

  • WS Guy May 14, 2018 (11:48 pm)

    This Council is a joke.  They do everything wrong.  We would be better off paying them to stay home and stop legislating until we can throw them out next year. 

    And I also read that after they fired Wells Fargo as the city’s bank – in order to virtue signal over the Dakota pipeline – NO OTHER BANK WAS WILLING TO TAKE SEATTLE’S BUSINESS.  They wound up crawling back to Wells Fargo.  It’s just failure after failure. 

  • A May 15, 2018 (12:08 am)

    If you want to see how good the city is at spending our money just look at our roads. Potholes everywhere, gridlock everywhere and it’s only getting worse. We can’t keep throwing money at these incompetent people. They have no solutions, they just see a booming economy and want more money. Wake up people or else we are going to turn into the Detroit of the west coast. We already spend more money on the homeless than any other city in the country and what do we get out of it? The problem is only getting worse and unfortunately for us that’s the way Sawant wants it. Vote her out, vote them all out, I’m so tired of my tax dollars being pissed away and I know many of you feel the same

  • A May 15, 2018 (12:15 am)

    Let’s also not forget that these are the same council members that were trying to let homeless people camp in our beautiful parks. They welcome this problem because they know it benefits them because they can raise taxes to try to fix it. If they were truly compassionate towards the homeless they would offer them job training and rehab and not mini houses and so called safe injection sites where they can shoot up heroin and ruin their lives. Wake up Seattle, this city is being ruined by our local politicians and we need to take a stand. Once Amazon leaves it’s over for us and I don’t even like Amazon but I understand their importance in our regions economy. Vote these idiots out. Save our city!!!

  • KR May 15, 2018 (12:16 am)

    Voting all of them out. 

  • Vilagegrern May 15, 2018 (12:17 am)

    The sad thing is it’s not nearly enough. 

  • dsa May 15, 2018 (12:21 am)

     I was hoping Durkan would show some smarts, but no.

    • Rick May 15, 2018 (9:14 am)

      I originally had some hope for her also,but no,also.

  • Concerned May 15, 2018 (5:15 am)

       So no accountability for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have already been spent on this homeless issue, but the city council goes ahead and grabs for more money in which there will probably be no accountability for. 

      As Sawant blabbered her same old rhetoric on the news last night, I couldn’t help but see the sign next to her that read ‘down with “capitalism”.  It’s ironic her seething hatred for Amazon and yet her book coming out will be available on Amazon, and even the Kindle Edition which is strictly an Amazon feature. 

      I know, Amazon is doing nothing to help the homeless issue, well except for maybe donating 47,000 sq. feet of space for Mary’s Place. 

      Sawant’s hypocritical self righteousness is now being exposed. She’s essentially laundering money through her husband’s charity organization. She finally got called out for using tax funded resources to promote her agenda by another council member. The sad thing is that is nothing to the money being wasted every time she decides to throw a fit and put together a protest rally. She has literally cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in police overtime to babysit her and her socialist cronies from all the protests she has headed. 

      O’Brien is another that needs to go.  I can’t even stand to look at his smug condescending smile as he tells you how much smarter he is. He wanted this head tax and yet his wife uses volunteers for her business, because….well, it’s just too expensive to have a bunch of paid employees when starting a business in Seattle. The disconnect and cognitive dissonance here is amazing.  Apparently, O’Brien’s wife doesn’t think too much of Ballard’s fishermen either. 

      As I listened to Durkan last night on the news, I could only hear disingenuous political platitudes being spouted off. She spoke of how we were able to come together to find solutions to this problem. We didn’t come together. There was no meeting with local businesses to come to the conclusion they did. Durkan spoke of being able to listen. The city council and Durkan did not listen.  Sawant even wanted to double this head tax. They instead had already made up their minds and then had pseudo meetings to give lip service to public input. 

      All these pro “down with capitalism” Sawant followers think they’re really sticking it to Amazon with this tax. No,  the unintended consequences are we are sticking it to ourselves. 

      Brandi Kruse from Q13 news stated that Safeway makes a 1% profit for example. Do we think that the tax hike won’t be passed on to the consumer? What about employee hiring or raises? We don’t think that will be affected? 

      Dick’s Drive Inn has good wages and benefits for that industry, along with other perks like college intuition availability. They also do community service work.  As the owner said, there is a huge difference between bringing in revenue and actual profit. He also stated that he now doesn’t foresee another Dick’s Drive Inn coming to Seattle in the future. 

       I don’t blame him. 

    • Unfortunately May 15, 2018 (11:43 am)

      Well said.  People keep talking about Amazon but this goes way beyond them.  This will just make Seattle less affordable for people living here by increasing prices on goods and decreasing local hiring.

  • Luke May 15, 2018 (5:40 am)

    I am encouraged by all of the comments here. I thought I was alone in being against this tax. Please follow through on the ballots!

    • Dzag May 15, 2018 (4:23 pm)

      I agree and will absolutely follow through at election time. The council is acting arrogant and needs to be unseated. We’ve already forgotten that we were in a major recession recently and we are penalizing the companies that stayed with Seattle through tough times. 

  • uncle loco May 15, 2018 (5:42 am)

    The city council has no intention to improve the homeless situation. It’s been a cash cow for them. They’ve been using this for years to leverage money from the rest of us. It really makes me sick.

  • Get a grip May 15, 2018 (5:52 am)

    Adding 14 cents an hour doesn’t seem like a burden for some of the largest corporations in the state. How many of the same people complaining on here also complain about homeless encampments etc. I realize that this type of tax might not be the best idea, but the anti tax zealots in Washington and around the country have made sure the best, most fair, ideas don’t make it to the table in DC or Olympia, so Seattle is left with other options. That’s my take…

    • neighbor May 15, 2018 (7:15 am)

      We’re not against the tax, Get A Grip. We’re against yet another tax being added when it will only add to the millions of dollars the council has already wasted. I think most of us would be fine with the tax if we thought it would actually reduce homelessness.

      • I'mcoveredinbees May 15, 2018 (10:44 am)

        I agree. The Council must be accountable and they currently are not. I’m happy to see so many people calling them out on that. They needed to outline their plan before executing this tax. They clearly have no plans.

    • candrewb May 15, 2018 (8:45 am)

      Seattle is currently enjoying record revenues GaG. Well, they were. This is going to propel momentum downward.

    • Get A Clue May 15, 2018 (9:20 pm)

      Get A Grip –

      Tax jobs, subsidize homelessness and open poison-injection centers. No, you’re right – those are great ideas. In never-never-land.

  • Senior May 15, 2018 (6:20 am)

    Accountability is a foreign word to the council

    lisa you have turned out to be a bait and switch, start brushing off your resume  

  • Kadoo May 15, 2018 (6:23 am)

    The remarkable thing is that the city council actually compromised! After watching them dig in their heels and take the ‘my way or the highway’ approach on several issues I’m grateful that they listened to feedback for a change. 

  • Huck May 15, 2018 (6:44 am)

    Finally the city council has done something so stupid that I hope it will motivate the people of Seattle to vote them out. Most cities are begging for Amazon to come set up in their backyard, but this city council is doing everything to get rid of them. If Amazon ever left Seattle the economic impact would be enormous. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

  • HpResident May 15, 2018 (6:46 am)

    So ashamed i voted for Herbold ill vote for littlerally anyone who runs against her talk about ignoring your constituents. She is terrible so looking forrward to voting hervout of office

  • feedup to here! May 15, 2018 (6:56 am)

    I am so glad that you voters are starting to get a clue! The socialistic agenda of this council does not work here. I am extremely disappointed in Lisa Herbold and Councilwoman Gonzalez. Neither one will have my vote in the future. My expectation of Jenny Durkin was low and so far she has not surpassed exactly my expectations. VOTE THEM ALL OUT!

  • good morning! May 15, 2018 (7:16 am)

    This thread was a delightful read! 

    I almost wish I, too, could get this worked up over a tax on the top 3% of Seattle businesses.

    Thanks for the morning amusement, and keep polishing those pitchforks!

  • Paulie May 15, 2018 (7:29 am)

    Do any of the folks whining about this tax have any actual ideas to fix the problems in Seattle, or is this just a big pity party for Seattle’s huge companies? 

    • candrewb May 15, 2018 (8:56 am)

      Paulie, you and Good Morning would be absolutely correct if economics worked in a vacuum. This virtue signal is telling all future development and investment that Seattle is kinda stupid. Perhaps they should look at Indianapolis, Boise or Chattanooga. I can hear you scoffing from here (where I’m from you’re the hillybilly so its all a matter of perspective). These will be the areas to benefit from the debilitation costs of Boston, NYC, Seattle, SF, Chicago, etc…

      • Rick May 15, 2018 (10:01 am)

        Kinda? Kinda being kind, aren’t you?

      • Good morning! May 15, 2018 (10:19 am)

        Absolutely right they should look at the cities you mentioned.  In fact companies should always be looking for better places to do business.

        But are you suggesting that this tax will result in businesses leaving Seattle?  Which businesses?  Or is it a more vague argument that new businesses won’t be drawn to the city?  

        And of course you have to compare those (may or may not be true) ideas with a tangible good of providing homes to the homeless and getting trash off our streets–something that will surely have a positive economic impact.

        Economics doesn’t work in a vacuum, that much we agree on.

        • Unfortunately May 15, 2018 (11:24 am)

          “Good Morning” you’d be correct IF THERE WERE A PLAN to provide homes to the homeless and get trash off our streets.  We already spend millions on those exact items.  And yet the problem grows and grows.   There is no plan, there’s just gathering more funds for some vague purpose.

          And yes, this tax will result in less business growth in Seattle.  It’s a regressive business tax, by its very nature.  “Companies should always be looking for better places to do business” – yes, how about a city that doesnt tax per employee and shout “down with capitalism” at every turn?  Even a business unaffected by this specific tax should be very concerned about the anti-business attitude of the city, with this as just the latest example. 

          • Good Morning! May 15, 2018 (12:46 pm)

            I really don’t understand how you came to the conclusion that there aren’t plans.  In West Seattle alone there are dozens of meetings each year where people talk about these plans, share details about them, where people literally stand in front of you to answer questions and be accountable.

            As to your second point–not having solved a problem does not mean money is being wasted.  You are correct that we spend millions on homelessness.  You are also correct that the problem grows and grows.  But you are wrong in your conclusion–just because a problem is growing faster than we can fix it doesn’t mean Seattle isn’t working on the problem.  In fact, what it probably means is that we haven’t allocated enough resources to the problem (but of course that’s the direct opposite of your point, so it’s a bit of an inconvenient conclusion).

            Finally, regarding businesses growth being limited–I’m okay with that.  You know what?  Seattle was already more limiting than 95% of the cities in the US–and we’re kinda doing okay.

            -GM

            ps

            I’m not sure you know what the word ‘regressive’ means.

          • Good Morning! May 15, 2018 (1:44 pm)

            “1) there is no plan specifying how to spend the newly collected funds.  Or are you reading a different news story?”

            I see.  So you agree that the homeless approaches in the past had plans, you just think that there won’t be a plan this time around?  Why wouldn’t there be?  Seems an odd logical step.

            it probably means is that we haven’t allocated enough resources to the problem” How much funding is enough then? 

            I looked it up for you.  We’d need roughly $400 million a year.  crosscut on the pricetag for homelessness

            I have no problem with allocating funding, perhaps way more than we have right now– if you can prove to that it makes a difference.  Thus far that has not been proven.

            And you want proof that spending money on homelessness “makes a difference”?  Unless you operationalize your definitions that’s a very odd request.  I mean, money we have spent on homelessness has, well, given people homes, given people places to shower and feel human, cleaned up tons of trash, provided social services to thousands of people…  I mean what are you asking for here?


            BTW my definition of regressive is right out of the Oxford Dictionary: a tax that takes a proportionally greater amount from those on lower incomes. 

            So… no, I don’t think that taxing the very top 3% of Seattle businesses is regressive.  



        • WS Guy May 15, 2018 (11:48 am)

          The Albertsons and Safeway at Aurora and in Greenwood are closing.  The parent company cited Seattle’s business regulations as the cause.  So there are a few hundred jobs out the window, for example. 

          • Unfortunately May 15, 2018 (1:21 pm)

            GM,

            1) there is no plan specifying how to spend the newly collected funds.  Or are you reading a different news story?

            it probably means is that we haven’t allocated enough resources to the problem” How much funding is enough then?  Other cities do far more with far less.   No one has “solved” the problem, but there have been solutions proposed that don’t involve taxing the hell out of residents, businesses, etc.   You could write a blank check tomorrow and we would still have a homelessness problem.  I have no problem with allocating funding, perhaps way more than we have right now– if you can prove to that it makes a difference.  Thus far that has not been proven.

            2) regressive used in a general sense refers to the elasticity of the good in question.  The good, in this case, can be interpreted as jobs.  Since jobs at large employers will now be taxed they are higher in “cost”; given a certain elasticity towards the need for those jobs said employers will either provide fewer jobs or bring in additional income via higher prices.  

            3) regressive used in a different sense refers to an undue impact to placing a greater burden on the poor than on the rich.  Under the scenario where this causes companies to higher less and/or raise prices on their goods, it is somewhat likely to impact the poor more than the rich. 

            What definition are you using?

        • WSRedhead May 15, 2018 (2:26 pm)

          Good Morning, astroturf much? You sound a lot like somebody we all might know…

          • good morning! May 15, 2018 (3:46 pm)

            Redhead,

            I’ve no idea what you mean and don’t care enough to look it up.  

            Unfortunately,

            I responded to your comments but in a thread up from where we are now, my bad (I added it to the previous thread, back where our discussion was originally).

  • Jort May 15, 2018 (7:35 am)

    Amazon will pay about $12-$13 million a year under the tax on big businesses approved today by the Seattle City Council. 

    For perspective, Jeff Bezos has added an average of $10.6 million to his net worth every hour so far this year.

    https://twitter.com/byrosenberg/status/996169367179034624?s=21

    • candrewb May 15, 2018 (8:47 am)

      So, Seattle isn’t taxing Bezos. They are taxing jobs. Why not tax cancer treatment? Or vegetables?  Any other overwhelming social plus can we think of smothering?

    • Concerned May 15, 2018 (9:53 am)

      So short sighted to think this is merely about Amazon

    • Rick May 15, 2018 (10:16 am)

      What is with your redistribution of wealth ideology? I work hard,keep my bills paid,no debt and that’s about it. I know a guy who works hard,pays his bills,has no debt and a Lear jet to get him to and from his yacht in the Caribbean.  WTF makes you think he owes me (or more importantly yourself) a better way of living? Just because I want something for free?Amazing,appalling,astounding,arrogant way of thinking. And that’s only the beginning of the A’s. Got 25 letters left to describe this entitled opinion. Ooops,slipped up to the E’s already. Wasted a few good letters.

      • Jort May 15, 2018 (11:09 am)

        We are one of the richest cities in the richest country in the history of human civilization on the face of the planet earth.

        We can solve homelessness … if we want to. The money is there.

        We are not a poor country.

        • Unfortunately May 15, 2018 (11:25 am)

          The money is already there.  The sense to put together a reasonable plan and implement it is NOT.

  • LK May 15, 2018 (7:42 am)

    Given the overwhelming sentiment against this tax in this comment board, it’s surprising how the city council, who is supposed to represent the people, made this decision.  We are already taxed enough here in WA, I’m astounded at the rate at which I’ve seen my license tabs, property and sales tax increase during the short time I’ve been here….and I come from a place known for it’s high cost of living.  Now they’re going after employers. With nothing to show for these increases (more pot holes, expanding homelessness) it’s time the people make their voices heard at the next election.  Enough is enough.   

    • HelperMonkey May 15, 2018 (8:35 am)

      it’s not that surprising when you realize most of the city council don’t care about anything that doesn’t benefit them personally/politically – agreed that Herbold is a disgrace and the worst kind of self-serving politician. This city council and our new mayor are doing everything they can to destroy Seattle and all the fiscal growth that Amazon and other large employers have brought to this city. Cutting off the collective nose to spite the face. It will definitely drive businesses out of the city – just like they did with the gun/ammo tax. All that did was send every gun dealer out of city limits – it didn’t solve the gun crisis, just moved it. And that’s exactly what Amazon and other large employers will do – why stay in a clearly hostile environment? 

      • Trnsprncy May 15, 2018 (10:27 pm)

        Me too, Helpermonkey!  This crazy bunch of yahoos on the city council is making me yearn for my hillbillies back in California!!  At least we get to keep the solar panels on our homes they make us buy :)!

  • T Rex May 15, 2018 (7:57 am)

    WOW, I am pretty sure the current city council may have gotten themselves voted out of office. If we all remember when election time rolls around.

    Politicians  sometimes have bad ideas. And when they do and the people speak up and say HELL NO, they usually take a step back and rethink the process. NOPE, not these folks, they basically say to large employers (including my employer) , well you have your opinion and we will lower the tax a little, but we are still right. A-Holes.

    Seattle is already starting to look like Detroit, streets are in horrible condition, homeless population is growing and the hits just keep on coming.

    Lisa Herbold, you are a disgrace.  And how in God’s name did Sawant EVER get elected to this city council?

    Amazon is NOT to blame for this mess, the city is to blame for this mess.  

     

     

  • D Del Rio May 15, 2018 (7:57 am)

    Only about a third of registered voters in Seattle vote. This is not counting all the people who are not even registered. The only people we can blame for who is now on the city council is ourselves. When you don’t vote you get a fringe minority of voters who vote during election time. The problem is very simple to solve. Just get out there and VOTE! I agree with with others about Jenny Durkin. My expectations for her were so low, but I think if it was Murray, he would have wanted to full original amount.

    • Seattlite May 15, 2018 (7:22 pm)

      D Del Rio — There are no viable candidates to vote for in Seattle/KingCounty because they are all of one ideology…farleft/socialist. Seattle will never dig out of its decline unless there are conservative candidates who run on MSGA!!!! 

  • M May 15, 2018 (8:56 am)

    We aren’t even raising taxes to support the actual issue. We have a HEROIN crisis not a homeless crisis. We can build as many affordable houses, shelter beds as we want, but we will never get 80-90% of the current homeless off the streets. Can we all stop being so polite and start calling a spade a spade. Until we reframe the conversation to discuss the actual issue we will never move forward. My fear is that we actually have an unsolvable problem. So let’s stop enabling and focus on preventing the next generation from taking the same path. TAX Purdue Pharma NOT Amazon. 

  • nivlac May 15, 2018 (8:58 am)

    The tax is not the issue.  The issue is the council is going to double — plus or minus a few million — the amount of the budget for homelessness and continue on with the same plan that hasn’t addressed the root cause of homelessness in Seattle.  Their plan, from what I have read and heard, is to increase affordable housing, increase staffing and provide raises to current employees.   This doesn’t seem like a plan to address the growing issue of homelessness in Seattle.

    I believe most people understand the multitude of issues that can cause homelessness, but what our council needs to do is address the “why” homelessness seems to be growing while other cities in King County are not having the same growth.  Could it be homelessness is treated differently in Seattle compared to other cities in King County?  Should Seattle address ordinance that limit living in vehicles and tents on City property?  Should Seattle look into where and how they provide social services to the homeless — such as health, food, and temporary housing?

    I feel this tax is a product of opportunity and politics by increasing the budget for a system that hasn’t provided a working model.  I would be fine with a tax that was increasing the budget of a stressed working model.

    • MIckymse May 15, 2018 (11:09 am)

      Actually,  other cities is King County are seeing a stunning increase in homelessness… Why would anyone think this is only a Seattle problem? Because other cities hide it better? One of the reasons you see so many more homeless people in Downtown Seattle is that service providers and shelters are clustered here, and many of those services are right in the middle of the government, financial, and commercial areas of Downtown — or you have to pass through those areas to get to them. I, for one, am glad people in our city can’t just pretend that thousands of people aren’t suffering every night. If it makes you so uncomfortable to see, perhaps you should think about doing something more about it.

      • nivlac May 15, 2018 (1:43 pm)

        Good point about the grouping of people in Downtown Seattle.  This has been a source of congregation since I was a child (the 70’s).  My family used to go downtown and hand out sandwiches and serve meals when I was a child in this area.  I don’t perform this type of service anymore.  I have decided to use my finite time on other services…these days.

        That being said, I didn’t say I was uncomfortable with homelessness.  Doubling the budget on homelessness for a model that isn’t changing the impact of homelessness is my issue.  It feels as if the rhetoric around the tax increase on the top 3% earning businesses in Seattle seems to be more of a smoke screen.

        You are correct homelessness is growing in King County, but not at the same rate as Seattle.  Homelessness is not limited to the Downtown region of Seattle, too.  Most neighborhoods, in Seattle where parking enforcement is not provided and large parks exist, are growing in homeless groupings.

        I am not an expert on homelessness (but in my lifetime, I feel I have some experience with homelessness).  As a resident of West Seattle, I feel it is time to be a part of the conversation.  My family has lived in West Seattle for over 100 years.  My children go to the same school(s) my mother attended, and in the past decade, I have seen West Seattle change and grow in population.  Increasing the budget of a system that hasn’t provided a working model doesn’t seem like a very responsible decision.

  • Huck May 15, 2018 (9:15 am)

    Remember the days when there wasn’t any construction going on in the city? Remember when you were worried about possibly losing your job? Would you rather go back to those “good old” days?

    Vote for this city council and your wish will come true. If I were the head of a large corp I wouldn’t consider setting foot inside Seattle’s hostile anti-business footprint. The word is spreading around the business world, and unfortunately it may be too late to change it.

    • D Del Rio May 15, 2018 (9:35 am)

      I am over 50 years old, and lived in Seattle all my life. I was never worried about losing my job, so YES, those were the good old days. During the 1980s, I remember Downtown Seattle was going through a building boom. No, the population of the city limits was not booming, but the suburbs where. Even during the Boeing bust, the families that did not leave, could live here on a lower middle class income.

  • Jort May 15, 2018 (9:35 am)

    The city has a housing crisis, and so far neighborhood groups have made it very clear that the least acceptible option for resolving it is to increase the ability to build additional housing.

    If it’s soooooooo important to limit housing density (apparently more important than nearly any other concern for some people), then the city is going to start finding other ways to address the lack of available housing.

    So, sure, complain about the head tax, but realize that the anti-HALA, anti-MHA attitude is part of what led us to the point where we need to do this. Lisa Herbold is doing exactly what JuNO and other neighborhood groups want: leaving their SFH zoning intact and instead shifting the focus onto Amazon.

    • MIckymse May 15, 2018 (11:10 am)

      I HATE that I agree with Jort on this one.

      • Huck May 15, 2018 (11:24 am)

        I agree with Jort as well.

        Increasing housing density is necessary and it is the natural progression in the evolution of a large city. Pick any large city in the world as proof.

      • Unfortunately May 15, 2018 (11:37 am)

        I totally agree that we need more housing and that sensible density in transit oriented areas is the way to go.  The dithering over the HALA discussion just makes me more nervous about how the tax funds would be spent.  The city doesn’t seem to have a leg to stand on when it talks about quickly building more affordable housing.  Building housing takes YEARS even when there is a commonly accepted and supported plan.   

    • AJP May 15, 2018 (8:46 pm)

      Yep. 

  • Huck May 15, 2018 (10:07 am)

    D DEL RIO:

    I’m glad you never had to worry about your job. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as you. I’m over 50 years old as well and although I didn’t grow up in Seattle, I’ve been here for over 20 years and I had to worry about my job (Aerospace) always.

    Make Seattle a hostile environment for business and just see what happens next. Maybe you’ll worry about your job for the first time in your life. Me: I’m retired because big business gave me a good paying job so I could save up, invest and retire (which I did before I turned 50).  

    • D Del Rio May 15, 2018 (11:36 am)

      Huck, You misunderstood me. Thant was then. I was laid off my job two years ago so I can understand were you are coming from. I now make less money than I have before.  To me is sounds like you are wishing joblessness on me from the tone of your email.  Another thing I wish to address from other posts is that not only is there a homeless crisis, but there is also a drug crisis too. All the low income housing will not help people who do not want to help themselves. 

      • Huck May 15, 2018 (12:10 pm)

        I would never wish joblessness on you D DEL RIO.

        I agree with you on the drug crisis. Building them housing won’t solve this. I’d rather see the money going to researching mental illness instead. If we could solve that riddle, homeless numbers would go down, crime would go down, mass shootings would go down just to name a few!

  • sleepernw May 15, 2018 (10:57 am)

    So what’s next ..  the tier of businesses smaller than Amazon ?   Where is the space for new housing ?   What happened to the initial monies for this issue ?     

  • Helpful May 15, 2018 (11:12 am)

    It’s funny that Seattle keeps raising taxes and pushing levies, and blowing the $$. Then, when they think they can’t ask for more- they sell it as taking from the rich corps. But the reality is, the middle class will be paying for this through increased prices at amazon and Safeway, etc.. Their margins are slim, that’s exactly why they are so profitable! (And there is no reason they should bear the burden for this mess, anyway!) YOU the people will pay for this, and Seattle will STILL blow the $$!!

    Meanwhile, also destabilizing and dis-incentivizing business growth?! It’s a lose-lose!

  • MIckymse May 15, 2018 (11:18 am)

    What is so offensive to folks about asking the most successful businesses in our city to contribute towards a problem which they helped to create? We literally remodeled an entire neighborhood for Amazon and other companies in South Lake Union. Has everyone forgotten that the area was once full of not just old warehouses but some of the cheapest residential properties in the entire city? And many of the folks living unsheltered lived there precisely because no one bothered them there?

    Wondering why you see so many homeless people around and wondering where they all came from? There’s some blame right there. Not to mention all of the incentives available for Amazon (and others) from the City making massive infrastructure investments in the area so that they could move in. Do those tax dollars not count just because it helped our economy hum like a brand new Tesla instead of a Subaru?

    And if Amazon — alone — brought 30,000+ new jobs here that didn’t exist before and all of the workers need somewhere to live, how is City Council to blame? We have built that many new residential units in the same period of time, dramatically remaking the density and character of several corners of our city. And everyone wants to fight further density. But if you can barely keep up with the demand for newcomers — and not those aging in place here, much less the ones literally being dis-placed — then where do you think those people end up? They certainly don’t leave Seattle or benefit from our “new economy”; nor are they the ones buying $18 hamburgers and $20 martinis or enjoying James Beard Award-winning chef specials. And if existing residents don’t want to upzone their single family neighborhoods, and don’t want to pay even more in property taxes, or aren’t in a rush to tear down everything that made them move here in the first place…

    Then, yes, some of us claim that Amazon (and others) contributed to the rise of the unsheltered population here. And perhaps businesses making lots of money off of all of these changes should be asked to step up and pay more — just like property owners have been asked to step up and pay more. Because this really is a state of emergency. And many people around us can’t just pick up and create a new base of operations somewhere else as easily as these tech companies can.

  • TJ May 15, 2018 (11:31 am)

    Current zoning in Seattle CAN handle the growth. The urban villages as envisioned in the 1990’s have the capacity for the growth we have had, and for future growth. The path to cheaper housing is to stop developer tax breaks and give-aways here and encourage these buildings in surrounding communities (drive down 1st Ave or Ambaum in Burien and nothing has changed in decades). This tax will push some businesses away, and certainly will not encourage new business to come, so they will need to adjust down their own future population growth projections (including the stupid climate change migrants they try to say will come). 

  • Bear May 15, 2018 (12:11 pm)

    This will all be forgotten by the 2019 elections.  We have such short attention spans.  

  • JK May 15, 2018 (12:25 pm)

    Some numbers:

    2,942 homeless in Seattle  / $47,000,000  = $15,975 per year per person (in addition to current spending)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_Seattle#cite_note-:0-1

  • Seattleite May 15, 2018 (12:30 pm)

    It is startlingly that this level of cash can be raised without any detailed plan for expenditures. Like who is going to build the housing, does this city retain any ownership, does the money go to developers and where exactly are they going to build it.

    Can it really be affordable enough to the homeless living on the streets and in RV’s now. What kind of income will homeless people need to afford this housing. Is it free, is 100$ a month 500$ a month? Do homeless people have any money for rent now that if housing became available at a low rate they could and WOULD pay for it? How many currently homeless and soon to be homeless people will the money house? What are the metrics to determine if goals to house homeless people are met with this money?

    With no detailed goals stated it is astounding and absolutely absurd to collect money from anyone to fund “the homeless problem” . 

  • pat May 15, 2018 (12:32 pm)

    So how many people here think there is NO homeless crisis in Seattle? No on? Okay, so why is there a crisis? I saw someone say it was heroine. Well, maybe that is one of the problems. How about no available jobs. Oh wait, Amazon seems to have made a big dent in that. Of course there are many people not qualified to work for Amazon, so is it an education issue? Well maybe, but that is a different issue where we have gotten so hung up on degrees that we forget our auto mechanics, our plumbers, our carpenters, and so on don’t really need arts degrees. Is it the fact that rent has skyrocketed in this city? Again, like the heroine, it shares in the problem, but has rent rates increased everywhere? Is it up in Renton? Kent? Everett? Lynnwood? Need I go on? Do all of the homeless need to live here? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to shift our responsibilities to other areas, I just want to understand why when forced out of housing here people move into the streets instead into housing they may be able to afford somewhere else.

    Obviously this is not an easy problem to solve, and building “affordable” housing may not be the answer and taxing big business to pay for it does not make sense either. AND, to think city government can actually build “affordable” housing is a pipe dream. Amazon could build the housing cheaper and faster than the city so instead of taxing them, maybe we should have asked them build the housing. Oh, and another question, where the heck are they going to build this so called affordable housing? So many questions, so few answers.

    • AJP May 15, 2018 (8:53 pm)

      Yes, rent has gone up all over the region. When you’re making $11 an hour (don’t forget the $15/hr minimum wage is also “bad for business”) or even $15 an hour, and your job is 20+ miles away, how are you going to afford getting to it? Is it that easy to get another job closer to home? How far do you want to push people away from their jobs? In SF people commute over the mountains, 2+ hours sometimes. Are we cool with commuters coming from Cle Elum, Ellensburg? 

      • Mike May 16, 2018 (9:04 pm)

        You do realize people already commute over 2 hours each way and already do commute from Eastern WA to Seattle on a daily basis, right?

  • WestSeattleVoter May 15, 2018 (12:58 pm)

    BYe Herbold. May you never hold a seat in Seattle politics again.

  • ACG May 15, 2018 (2:03 pm)

    Please, West Seattle, offer me a choice when it is time to vote in 2019. West Seattle is filled with smart, wonderful, kind individuals. If there is someone out there who can look at the issues our city faces with a slightly different perspective than our current Councilmembers, please consider running for City Council in the next election. Please. 

  • Heartless? May 15, 2018 (2:58 pm)

    I hope Lisa does not come doorbelling at my house ever again because her exit from my property will be profoundly rude.

     

     

    • RickE May 16, 2018 (12:31 pm)

      I feel the exact same way.

  • RealLife May 15, 2018 (3:27 pm)

    Jort and those pro developers that said BUILD,BUILD,BUILD. How EXACTLY will  that help????? Are you giving the “homeless” FREE housing for life? or are you saying they have money and can pay rent? Funny, nobody’s given a monthly rent amount for these “affordable” unit’s. Will EVERYBODY be eligible to move into these “affordable” units or are they restricted to “homeless”. The other point. How do you keep outsiders away? Local media-Q13,KOMO,KIRO have had “homeless people say ON CAMERA that they’d come from out of state “for the services.” Do you believe them or is it your agenda to say that’s “fake news”

  • ernieusafret May 15, 2018 (3:32 pm)

     

    This seems to be the city councils solution for everything.

    Throwing money at this problem doesn’t seem to work, which
    is pretty obvious by now.

    More taxes to flush down the “Terlet”.

    One good thing will come out of this.

    It will solve the transportation problem with all the people
    moving out of Seattle.

    It would be nice to see the city audited to see where all
    the money goes.( This includes ALL the politicians)

    Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn off the
    lights.

    VOTE,VOTE,VOTE

  • Paul May 15, 2018 (3:58 pm)

    In reading much of the dissent (which I agree with by and large) I can’t help to hear folks talk about how you should use your vote to exercise your voice; This is true. I have voted in every election since I turned 18 (primaries, generals and specials). In this last election I turned in my ballot without voting on numerious Seattle candidates. I have spent the time since our mayoral race thinking about why I voted for “no one” and it comes down to the way out primaries work (top 2) and the fact that only 34% of voters turn out. The results yield candidates like the Durkan Moon race… They were very similar candidates with few policy differences. There was not alternative. It was a choice between two non-options. I’m ready for a ride of sanity to wash over the city so that we can get back to our liberal root. 

  • Michelle May 15, 2018 (5:31 pm)

    I  agree with many comments regarding Lisa H.    I’m sure glad people are starting to be aware how terrible she is as our  City Counsel representative for District 1.

  • AJP May 15, 2018 (9:00 pm)

    “Rents are too high!” — “$15/ minimum wage is bad for business!” 

    “There’s not enough housing!” — “Do not add more housing to my neighborhood, I want it just like it was when I was a child in the 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s….” 

    “It’s not homelessness, it’s heroin!” — “Don’t put a safe injection site in my backyard,even though they have been proven in other cities to reduce the problems and costs to society associated with heroin!”

    “It’s not rent, it’s not heroin, it’s mental illness!” — “Don’t use my taxes for health care for those with mental illness!” 

    “Don’t give the city more money without them having a real solid plan!” — “I do not have any real idea what a good plan would include and I’ve never attended a community meeting, just don’t put it in my backyard!” 

    Lots of ranting on here. 

    • Good morning! May 15, 2018 (9:36 pm)

      Beautifully done.

      No idea who you are but next beer’s on me.

      • Good Morning! May 17, 2018 (8:16 am)

        Sure, but here is a much more recent (your piece was over a year old) editorial by the same newspaper that argues for safe injection sites. 

        And here is another article, also from this year, that argues for them: Scientific American: Safe injection facilities save lives.

        • Concerned May 17, 2018 (5:48 pm)

             It is an editorial from the same paper, not the reporter rescinding what they wrote earlier and had a change of mind. Also it is an editorial from what appears to simply take and reword from the other article you put up as if this were two separate researches that came to the same conclusion. 

            And when they do speak of successful, that is defined as simply keeping people from over dosing. It doesn’t speak of the negative consequences that are still happening. People still need to buy their heroin off the street, so crimes are still being committed towards law abiding citizens.  As the original report stated: 

          QUOTE:And Insite’s supporters are right; safe-injection sites are good at what they do. But they really only do one thing: prevent people from dying. It does not seem to reduce crime. There is slim evidence to show that it reduces overall addiction rates. And it certainly doesn’t lead to livable neighbourhoods filled with healthy people.

          QUOTE: But this is only one part of Vancouver’s drug story.

          For one, the drugs consumed at Insite are “pre-obtained,” which is to say that they are still purchased by users on the black market. With about 700 injections occurring on site per day, it follows that there is still a vibrant market for drug suppliers — the very ones now cutting their product with lethal doses of fentanyl.

          QUOTE: Insite’s own website says that “supervised injection facilities can help people quit drugs” — but the data proving as much is slim. The two major studies that Insite references cover a limited time period, and only document an increase in admissions to detoxification. To date, there is no definitive, long-term data showing that Vancouver’s injection drug users are successfully getting clean and kicking drugs because of safe injection.

          QUOTE: A 2012 thesis, in which Simon Fraser University student Jennifer Vishloff interviewed Insite nurses, mentions staff having to clench their teeth when encountering fresh-faced drug-users who were still entranced with the excitement of the Downtown Eastside.

          “Even though I want to tell them to ‘run out of there! It’s important that I give them a really good experience so that they come back and when they have their crisis … they come to us,” said one nurse.  Another described assisting a drunk reveler with their first-ever hit of heroin. “I didn’t feel comfortable signing them up because they definitely weren’t entrenched,” she said. “Yet at the same time they were intoxicated which increases their overdose risk.”

          QUOTE: Vancouver’s error was to see Insite’s success, and to then allow the surrounding neighbourhood to be increasingly shaped by the philosophy of harm reduction. For example, there’s the whimsically decorated crack-pipe vending machine. The city also dropped the Hastings Street speed limit to 30 km/h, to protect addicts who are unable to demarcate the road from a sidewalk.

          QUOTE: There’s also a city hall-funded “street market” that — despite organizers’ fervent claims to the contrary — is well-known by locals to be a brazen hotspot for stolen goods. There are now more than 170 non-profits clustered in an area of only a few blocks, all devoted towards supporting an increasingly dense community of addicts. In a 2015 interview, longtime Downtown Eastside organizer Scott Clark referred to the growth of “a pipeline for vulnerable populations” that has become a “magnet over the years.”

          QUOTE: It is a noble and moral thing to prevent addicts from dying of overdoses in alleys and dingy apartments, and none of the problems cited above are reasons to not build a safe injection site. But it is perverse to look at the Downtown Eastside and claim that it is in any way a holistic success. It is palliative care on a mass scale; a system that can keep hearts from stopping, but little else.

          Concerned: Now Seattle has it’s own Heroin safe injection site advocate,Shilo Jama, who claims that Heroin addiction is merely a lifestyle and wants to fight for drug users rights to simply just do drugs. 

          https://www.ozy.com/provocateurs/this-drug-activist-doesnt-want-addicts-to-stop-using-himself-included/82784

  • James May 16, 2018 (10:13 am)

    This mindless and reckless decision may ultimately deprive the city of the funds it needs to support the homeless and other disadvantaged communities. Businesses may choose to leave the city or businesses who would have otherwise come here may decide to locate elsewhere. What amazes me is that there isn’t one single voice on the city-council that has the common sense to see that a favorable business climate helps to generate the revenue that supports social programs.  With no personal disrespect to Lisa Herbold she seems typical of her peers. Reading her biography she seems to literally have zero experience in the private sector. My fear is that without better candidates our city will continue down a path that is ultimately very counter-productive. I wrote to Lisa and Jenny Durkan this morning and I am encouraged by the tone and content of the comments on this thread. Maybe, this ill-conceived tax is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and voters in the city help to make local government understand that a strong business community must be cherished and protected and not scorned and punished.

  • williamf64 May 16, 2018 (11:40 am)

        This is Insanity but I would expect nothing less from this city council

  • Jack May 16, 2018 (12:20 pm)

    “Don’t give the city more money without them having a real solid plan!” — “I do not have any real idea what a good plan would include and I’ve never attended a community meeting, just don’t put it in my backyard!”

    How on earth can you go from asking the city to have detailed plan before they ask for money to “not in my back yard” or even assume they have never attended a community meeting and it is a citizens job to come up with the detailed plan  and not the job of the city council.

    What is the problem with asking the city to have a detailed plan to put in place that meets the needs they are raising the money for?


     

  • Moscoveech May 16, 2018 (1:59 pm)

    I’m surprised no one brings up the impact that short term vacation rentals have had on the local rental market. There are thousands of rental properties that have been pulled off the market to become Airbnb or VRBO short term rentals. Not the biggest contributor to lack of affordable housing but a significant one I think.

    • Joel May 17, 2018 (8:24 pm)

      and those rentals are paying into the tax system – sales and lodging tax as well as you guessed it a special city of Seattle tax too on nightly rentals.  As well as a licensing fee for rentals.  Rentals under 30 days are subject to sales and lodging tax…they are adding into the revenue fund.  Plus the people coming into town are renting cars, paying to park, spending more money on restaurants and tourists stuff than the average person…the short term rentals put a lot of money into the economy – now if the city can spend the money more wisely.

  • Joel May 17, 2018 (8:21 pm)

    come election time remember our own Lisa Herbold was a key player in the head tax – she was strongly in favor of the $500 per head and not the lower amount that passed.  

    Hoping time for a change in our district come election time.

  • here ya go May 20, 2018 (7:42 pm)

    http://notaxonjobs.com/

    • Ranvier May 20, 2018 (8:26 pm)

      Not axon jobs?

      They are clearly jobs for dendrites!

      (Apologies for late night neuroscience humor.)

      • here ya go May 20, 2018 (10:30 pm)

        no taxon jobs, clearly we don’t want anyone defining species.
        Regardless I still signed.

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