ELECTION 2023: You’ll vote in November on Seattle Housing Levy renewal/expansion

The mayor proposed it in March, and the City Council finalized it this afternoon – the next renewal of the seven-year Seattle Housing Levy, expanding it to almost a billion dollars, will be on your November ballot. Here’s an overview of where that money would go, according to the council’s website:

Rental Production and Preservation:
$707,270,379 – Capital funding for new production of affordable rental housing, acquisition of structures to create or preserve affordable housing, and reinvestment in existing affordable housing to make capital improvements.

Operating, Maintenance, and Services:
$122,300,000 – Operating support for Housing Levy-funded buildings for 20 years, supplementing rent paid by low-income residents, including formerly homeless residents and other residents with supportive service needs. Wage stabilization support for supportive housing workers serving residents who have experienced homelessness and who are living with low incomes.

$60,000,000 – Funding for administration of all programs, including holding costs and predevelopment costs for land in the City’s possession.

Homeownership Program:
$50,689,796 – Assistance to low-income homeowners to maintain stable housing through emergency home repair grants, assistance to eligible homebuyers through home purchase loans, and development subsidy loans for the development of new resale-restricted homes.

Prevention and Housing Stabilization:
$30,000,000 – Rent assistance and stabilization services for low-income individuals and families to prevent eviction, support housing stability, and address homelessness.

Acquisition and Preservation:
Up to $30,000,000 (no additional funding) – Short-term acquisition loans for cost-effective purchases of buildings or land for rental or homeownership development.

The first Seattle Housing Levy was a $50 million, 8-year measure in 1986; the one that’s expiring, passed in 2016, was for $290 million. You can see the rest of its history here. As for this one, when proposed in March, it was described as costing the owner of a median-value home – $855,000 – $32 a month.

73 Replies to "ELECTION 2023: You'll vote in November on Seattle Housing Levy renewal/expansion"

  • Jon June 13, 2023 (4:41 pm)

    They won’t be happy until no one can afford a home

  • WS Taxpayer June 13, 2023 (4:56 pm)

    H3LL N0 

    • James June 13, 2023 (8:50 pm)

      Oh come on. This is desperately needed. We need to vote YES

    • Seattlite June 13, 2023 (9:40 pm)

      I second your H$LL NO!

  • WestSeattleBadTakes June 13, 2023 (4:58 pm)

    Housing, let’s go!

  • Anne June 13, 2023 (4:58 pm)

    $384 a year – on top of other property taxes being charged. So that’s a NO for me. Pretty soon – like many others I’ll be taxed out of my own home. 

    • James June 13, 2023 (8:51 pm)

      And what about the people who aren’t lucky enough to own a home???? This is a gross take.

      • Canton June 14, 2023 (12:09 am)

        You have to work hard, to earn a home. Whether rented or owned. A home is something earned, not gifted.

      • WW Resident June 14, 2023 (5:53 am)

        @James. Tell me, the city has been running this ruse for affordable housing for how long now and how’s that worked out. We’re gonna tax you and create affordable housing has done nothing. People like you want to keep taxing people because of ideas that never come to fruition. The city’s plan for affordable housing is a joke and developers can even pay off the city so they don’t have to put in “affordable housing” within their structure, which they have. I put affordable in quotes because even that is just some random abstract idea. What is affordable as defined by Seattle? 

  • Boinsted June 13, 2023 (5:20 pm)

    It is ridiculous that these tax increases and levies are voted on by everyone – and not just the individuals it impacts the most; the property owners who pay these taxes. Homeowners are literally being taxed out of their homes. 

    • Jeff June 13, 2023 (5:45 pm)

      Pretty sure we’ve tried the “only property owners get to vote” thing before, plus a few other restrictions like race and sex…   I’m a homeowner too, but come on man listen to yourself for a minute. 

      Furthermore, who do you think pays property taxes on rental property?

    • KBear June 13, 2023 (5:49 pm)

      Everyone who pays rent is paying their share too, Boinsted, and if they’re citizens they’re as entitled to vote as you are. Washington’s tax system does favor the rich, and if you don’t like that you might consider supporting a state income tax. 

    • Scarlett June 13, 2023 (7:33 pm)

      You think your asset appreciation that you have almost certainly enjoyed for years, happens in an economic vacuum, that is doesn’t have economic repercussions for others?    

      • Bronson June 13, 2023 (11:00 pm)

        And you think the asset appreciation results in actual profit realization and income on an ongoing basis? Get real. Theses levies have real consequences for homeowners that have been in their homes for a lengthy amount of time and are on fixed budgets. 

  • Mark32 June 13, 2023 (5:38 pm)

    My parents were taxed out of the home I grew up in and it looks like the same will happen to me. Seattle voters never seem to find a tax they don’t like, straw after straw and soon the camels back is broken.

    I know someone else will move and things will continue, but after almost 60 years in West Seattle I too won’t be able to live here any longer.

  • Admiral-2009 June 13, 2023 (5:39 pm)

    What about including all of King County so that everyone pays a fair share at a significantly lower rate?  Enough putting the burden on Seattle taxpayers alone, please vote NO!

  • Drip Drip Drip June 13, 2023 (5:48 pm)

    I think there should be a resolution that all initiatives go on the same ballot, no more than one election a year. They seem to stagger them on purpose to obscure the true cost of what they are asking. Also, the cost of each measure should be described in dollars per month for the median home, as WSB had done here, instead of the cents per $1000 of assessed value they typically use. People are more equipped to weigh the value of things in dollars per month as most other goods and services are priced that way. 

    • Plf June 13, 2023 (8:42 pm)

      Well stated

    • Canton June 14, 2023 (12:14 am)

      Spot on.

  • tim June 13, 2023 (5:50 pm)

    That’s a big no. I pay enough rent.  That would mean a rent increase of $40 a month. Becasue ALL property taxes are passed on to the renter. No Way!

  • Eldorado June 13, 2023 (6:00 pm)


  • Marina June 13, 2023 (6:00 pm)

    This is crazy. The mayor and city council are crazy. My retired parents are paying almost as much per month in property taxes as I’m paying for my 1 bedroom apartment. Stop taxing people out of their homes! 

    • Josh June 13, 2023 (7:45 pm)

      If your parents are paying $1800 a month for property taxes (a low estimate of the cost to rent a 1 br in this city) then their property is roughly evaluated at 3.4 million. Tell me again why I should feel sorry for them and not want to help others?  Also no matter what all you invective speakers and anti tax folks on here say the property tax rate in Seattle is the lowest it’s been in over 15 years and one of the lowest in the region. As a homeowner in this city I am more than glad to pay my fair share to get this city as wonderful and fair as it can be. 

      • Plf June 13, 2023 (8:49 pm)

        Josh, help me understand I’m on a very fixed income. 70 years old, yes I have my house, but doesn’t generate income, don’t qualify for subsidies, worked all my life and can’t afford the property taxessuggestions? Sell my house?, should I have to?  So many of us have done everything right our homes are only assist, and being taxed outim open to solutions 

        • Scarlett June 14, 2023 (7:04 am)

          You are likely eligible for property tax assistance.  Moreover, there is a proposal to extend assistance to more Seattle homeowners. 

          • Marina June 14, 2023 (12:51 pm)

            I’m not sure what the new proposal is, but my parents don’t qualify for the current property tax assistance. Something to do with working/contracting out of the country for 15 years. 

      • Marina June 13, 2023 (9:46 pm)

        Wow Josh. There’s some wrong math right there. I pay roughly $1200 for my rent (before the added fees). My parents bought just a normal 1.5 story house in the late 90’s.  Cost way under $300k at time and probably valued at closer to a million now. Please don’t make assumptions. We’re not rich, we’re Ukrainian immigrants who built what we had from nothing. Tell me how it’s my parents responsibility to pay for someone else’s housing. You’re happy paying those taxes, that’s great. But the rest of us literally can’t afford to live in this city any more because people like you feel entitled to someone else’s money. 

        • derek June 14, 2023 (10:44 am)

          And there’s even more people than just you guys that have zero housing or just a bedroom in a house with too many people. While you guys argue over having actual equity… jeeze.

          • Marina June 14, 2023 (12:40 pm)

            I have a job that lets me pay the bills, which means I have housing. I don’t see how making my housing more expensive or forcing my parents to sell their home just so people who “have zero housing or just a bedroom in a house with too many people” can afford their rents is my burden to bear (or my parents’). I’m not working for you to live in this city, I’m working for me to live in this city. Take it from someone with experience in the matter…socialism and communism does not work. 

  • John June 13, 2023 (6:02 pm)

    Are the expired Levy cost removed from our current property taxes….and then this one would be added?    Is that how it works?   If so, why don’t they say that?   It would then seem like we’re not taking such a large hit.

    • Torvald June 14, 2023 (7:10 am)

      Yes, that’s exactly how it works in this case.  The proposed levy (the one you’ll be voting on) replaces the expiring levy which was voted on and approved in 2016.

  • priced out June 13, 2023 (6:03 pm)

    It’s never about the middle class :(( How about those of us who are not considered low income yet will never be able to become Homeowners in Seattle or are priced out of our rentals? Higher taxes means higher rentals, and it’s becoming really tough out there.

  • Scarlett June 13, 2023 (6:08 pm)

    Brace yourselves for the indignant furor from those who have seen their assets balloon for years because of easy money monetary policies.  They’ll gladly accept the asset appreciation but recoil in horror at having to pay for it, in terms giving others the same opportunity to rent/purchase.  You know, something about “having your cake and eating it too.”   

    • Bronson June 13, 2023 (11:11 pm)

      Repeat after me Scarlett; “housing appreciation doesn’t matter unless those gains have been realized.” It’s not a difficult concept. And guess what, even when you do realize your gains you get to pay an excise tax on top of all of those property taxes you have paid, which equals another -$20k on the median priced home. 

      • Scarlett June 14, 2023 (2:05 pm)

        I have to laugh when those like you lecture me about finances.  Wow, no, I’ve never heard of “unrealized gains,” Bronson.   You have the option of downsizing and realizing that accumulated appreciation.   Not only will you pay no capital gains taxes when you sell, most likely, you’re paying transfer taxes of about 1.3% when you sell, which is a pittance after the massive appreciation you’ve enjoyed.   Wealth is wealth, realized or not.  That’s not so difficult to understand, is it? 

  • Mr J June 13, 2023 (6:23 pm)

    “Who said a society grows great when old men (people) plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in”

    • Scarlett June 13, 2023 (7:46 pm)

      The ancient Greeks certainly knew something about society and the Human Condition.   

  • Rhonda June 13, 2023 (6:27 pm)

    N O

    • Mr J June 13, 2023 (6:41 pm)

      But Rhonda, just yesterday you were fighting for businesses to keep cash as tender because you thought it was discriminatory toward the poor. Wouldn’t this levy help to lift people out of poverty?Are we just choosing the easy fights or are we ready to really help people live in this region?

      • Rhonda June 13, 2023 (8:36 pm)

        Pricing struggling-class people out of their homes and apartments with soaring taxes and levies simply creates more unhoused people. Do the math.

        • WS Guy June 13, 2023 (9:31 pm)

          That’s the whole point.  Force people into dependency on government programs.  That way you’ll vote for more government programs and enrich their administrators.

          • WS Res June 14, 2023 (3:59 pm)

            Remind me again what’s the endgame there?

  • 937 June 13, 2023 (6:42 pm)

    Grifting continues!! The Seattle Voter will PASS this one at 60% plus.

    Voter apathy will continue to draw down votes from those against tax increases.

  • Josh June 13, 2023 (7:48 pm)

    I look forward to voting yes on this. And yes this replaces and would expand a retiring levy so the expansion would not be meaningful. And to those who complain about your parents being priced out of the city: shenanigans. If they didn’t plan to pay property taxes as part of their retirement then they need to sell their ballooned property assets, readjust their outflow expectations, and move somewhere where their poor planning can allow them to live the lifestyle they feel entitled to. 

    • Paul June 13, 2023 (8:37 pm)

      This comment is precious. I find it ironic that the homeless situation is often no fault of one’s own, but if you are a functioning member of society you are expected to make sensible choices. In principal, i agree that folks should be responsible for their choices but reject the notion that only those with $ are expected to conform. Seattle has two sets of law, one for those who are perceived as able to pay and those who are perceived as not able to. It’s trash. 

    • The King June 13, 2023 (9:06 pm)

      From 2009-2016 my property taxes remained mostly the same. They doubled from 2017 to present. Exactly how do you plan for that? Lol get real. 

      • Scarlett June 14, 2023 (10:40 am)

        Get real?  Your house has probably doubled, tripled, quadrupled in market value during that time due to easy money policies.  Downsize if you can’t afford to live in your current house – renters make this hard decision all the time.   Take your boatload of money and retire elsewhere.  No one has a right to anything in life, I thought this was tough love message a certain political party lectures others about. 

        • John June 14, 2023 (12:05 pm)

          If you truly believe no one has a right to anything in life then why would you support this levy.Or is it just people that worked hard and sacrificed to own a home that you’re referring to?

    • Marina June 13, 2023 (9:57 pm)

      Did you just move to Seattle? If you lived here over 20  or 30 years ago, I don’t think you’d have predicted the insane rise of property taxes in the last decade. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that you can live in your house once it’s paid off, instead of paying close to what rent is every month in property taxes. 

    • Bronson June 13, 2023 (11:05 pm)

      The irony in your last line is something. Perhaps those who this levy is intended to assist should also take your advice and move somewhere they can afford it; at least by your logic. 

      • Usually yes but no June 14, 2023 (10:47 pm)

        Well said! And it’s not like “downsizing” isn’t without huge costs. Real estate agents gotta get their cut (they work so hard), not to mention more taxes to be paid. I’ve voted test to every levy forever but what do we have to show for it? 

    • Duffy June 14, 2023 (6:40 am)

      So let me get this straight…your suggestion for those that can’t keep up with these tax hikes is for them, many of whom are elderly and/or retired, to sell their home and move away? So say goodbye to their children and grandchildren and take their money and move to…where exactly? Have you seen or noticed that there is a historic housing shortage in this country right now? And you want them to just pack up and leave? I’ve read some comments on this blog over the years…but this one might take the cake. What a numb, completely ignorant comment as to the reality of so many residents of our community that have spent decades of their lives trying to make their neighborhoods better.

  • TJ June 13, 2023 (8:13 pm)

    Actually Josh, entitled is expecting others to give their money for this. Cheaper housing is outside the city. Both rental and houses for sale. 

  • Gaslit June 13, 2023 (8:22 pm)

    5 modest metrics on the last one and two fell short, and now they want more money. It’s an insane person who keeps doing the same thing over and over again and expects the outcome to be different. Even the ones that hit their benchmark were absurdly low for the amount of money being levied. Keep voting to give these grifters your money and keep wondering why things don’t improve.

  • Plf June 13, 2023 (8:40 pm)

    It would be great if they didn’t trickle down these levies or provide information in the aggregate of increase in property taxes.  You may believe in all of these issues but it would be helpful and in the need for transparency folks ie property owners understood the increase in taxes in the aggregate im confident that this slow piece meal approach is intentional 

  • rob June 13, 2023 (9:29 pm)

     Its funny how some people here argue that your house is worth a fortune so  quick complaining. The thing is we have been in our homes for years and the city keeps raising the value of our homes an thus up goes the taxes. So what we end up with is being house rich but cash poor.  Sure we can just sell an move but that should not be the answer.

    • WSB June 13, 2023 (10:06 pm)

      For accuracy’s sake:
      The county sets valuation, not the city.

  • WS Guy June 13, 2023 (9:37 pm)

    A billion?  Why not a trillion?  Seattle votes yes on all levies.  They should triple them every cycle just to see when, if ever, the answer is no.  I do not know if there is an upper limit.  It may continue until all private property is confiscated.

  • Mike June 13, 2023 (9:56 pm)


  • N June 13, 2023 (11:09 pm)

    More than triple the 2016 levy.  

  • Zero confidence June 14, 2023 (5:17 am)

    I just can’t fathom trusting our local government another billion dollars to experiment with. Vision Zero has resulted more traffic deaths. The schools aren’t getting better. Homelessness, addiction, crime are not better. This doesn’t feel like a plan as much as an ambition… give us a big pot of money and we’ll do our best. I’m sorry, I can’t support this. 

  • anonyme June 14, 2023 (6:08 am)

    I’ll vote yes if and when I see an accounting of what was accomplished with the last housing levy.  In other words – no.

  • Jeepney June 14, 2023 (7:15 am)

    There are two absolute certainties with this election:1) It will pass 2) It will not reduce homelessness 

  • Lola June 14, 2023 (7:45 am)

    Please Quit Taking it from HOMEOWNERS.  Pretty soon nobody will be able to live here.  Renters are also hit with this if you don’t think the person you Rent from does not pass this along to you.  They can’t seem to do right with all of the Money they get to begin with.  All we ever hear is WE NEED MORE MONEY FOR THE HOMELESS.  Nothing they have done so far has seemed to work, it just gets worse and worse every year. 

  • Greystreet June 14, 2023 (7:52 am)

    I will once again vote no because I’m tired of the “death by a thousand paper cuts” of taxing in this city. But yet again, it will get passed and I’ll be seeking to sell the house in this terrible market. This place is getting so difficult to justify living in.

  • April June 14, 2023 (9:31 am)

    Nope! Budget what you have properly first and stop wasting our tax money!

  • snowskier June 14, 2023 (9:36 am)

    That’s a huge increase in tax per $1000 of home value.  Seeing the challenges in using the current funds efficiently, I wonder about the potential for government to use more funds efficiently.  They don’t seem to produce much lately when they “Go Bigger” aside from producing administrative jobs and overhead expense.

  • TM7302 June 14, 2023 (10:12 am)

    @ Scarlett. The only people who want asset appreciation are those that sell their homes.  Most of us that own homes want to stay in them, not sell.

    At some point, the only people who will be able to live in Seattle will be the uber rich and those in city provided housing…

    • WestSeattleBadTakes June 14, 2023 (12:38 pm)

      Well, stop letting the rich people screw everyone over.

  • shotinthefoot June 14, 2023 (12:43 pm)

    Meanwhile this increase will be passed on to me as a renter, and I will have to live in my car because now I can’t afford to live there with the constant rent increases. Maybe this levy creates housing eventually, but it’s going to hurt a lot more people than it will help initially. 

  • NA June 14, 2023 (5:41 pm)

    I am curious about how the home value increase equates to these levies. No one talks about that. Each year my taxes go way up enough to cause a shortage btw. Did the planning and budget take into account the higher home values over the life of the levy? Or are the funds resulting from higher assessments extra money? Where does it go? This has been happening for a while so I would assume they have a surplus of funds over what they budgeted for? And if not does that reflect poor planning and spending thus the taxpayers are owed an explanation? Do we get a refund if they got more money than they said they needed during voting? If they do take into account during planning an increase in home values and are counting on that to complete their programs what happens if values go down such as in 2008 and after? Seems to me these levies should be limited to what your home was worth the year it was voted upon. 

Sorry, comment time is over.