Council still working on a plan to get to a head tax

On Tuesday this week, the Council voted down an employee-hours tax (aka a “head tax”). In doing so, several Council members who voted “no” voiced their support in theory for a head tax and committed to working on a process with a broad group of stakeholders to evaluate a head tax — and other progressive revenue-raising options — and come back with a specific proposal. On Wednesday, Council member Gonzalez began circulating a draft resolution to that extent, which she hopes to have the Council approve on Monday.

Yesterday, Gonzalez shared with me the draft resolution. She emphasized that it’s still an early draft and she is incorporating feedback from her colleagues:

Attached is the first draft of the resolution that CM O’Brien and I distributed to our colleagues yesterday.  Please keep in mind that it is an initial draft and, as I’m sure you heard, several of my colleagues offered suggested revisions from the dais and I’m working with CM O’Brien’s office on evaluating those requests.    So, I suspect that the version we introduce on Monday will be somewhat different but, in concept, I think this is the general direction.

The resolution calls for establishing a task force by December 15, including “subject matter experts, housing healthcare and homeless service providers, community organizations, civic leaders, business leaders, and small and large business owners.” Two Council members will co-chair.

The goal of the task force is:

developing recommendations for dedicated progressive revenue sources and a framework for investments related to those progressive revenue sources that would assist people, who are homeless or at high-risk of experiencing homelessness, in obtaining and retaining stable housing.

They will report back to the Council by February 26 with their recommendations, with interim updates at Council committee meetings every two weeks through January and February. The resolution gives some direction to the task force’s work, including what kind of revenue sources to pursue (including a head tax), and which investments to prioritize.

Separately, the resolution directs the Department of Finance and Administrative Services to provide an implementation plan for a head tax by February 1.

All of this is consistent with the verbal comments the Council members made earlier this week, but we’ll see what changes between now and Monday.