Category Archives: tax

Safeco Field and the lodging tax

The King County Council is considering a proposal to allocate about $180 million of hotel and lodging tax revenues toward capital expenditures on Safeco Field. This is enraging community members who think that the money should be spent on affordable housing instead — and certainly shouldn’t be spent on supporting a private, for-profit organization like the Seattle Mariners.

The financial arrangements of the ballpark, the Mariners, and the hotel and lodging tax are rather convoluted. Let’s pick this apart to understand where all the money is going.

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Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy passes out of committee

This morning, before the Council announced that it was repealing the head tax and all hell broke loose, it quietly finished up committee work on the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, sending it on its way to the full Council for final approval next Monday and then on to the November ballot for voter approval.

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Council moves suddenly and swiftly to repeal the head tax

In a sudden and unexpected move today, Council President Bruce Harrell introduced a bill that would repeal the recently-enacted employee-hours tax (aka the “head tax”) and scheduled a special meeting of the full City Council for tomorrow to deliberate and vote on it.

Council President Bruce Harrell discussing his bill to repeal the employee-hours tax

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Council starts to get clarity on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy

This morning, the Council started to focus in on the adjustments it proposes to make to Mayor Durkan’s proposed Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy. But it wasn’t easy, and they’re far from done.

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Understanding the Seattle Waterfront LID

Seattle’s waterfront is undergoing a massive $4.7 billion renovation, including rebuilding the seawall, tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct and replacing it with a deep-bore tunnel, rebuilding Colman Dock and the ferry terminal, remaking the Alaskan Way surface street, and improving park and streetscape elements as part of the city’s $688 million Waterfront Seattle initiative. $200 million of the funds to pay for Waterfront Seattle are proposed to come from a new Local Improvement District: a special assessment on downtown properties that are expected to increase in value because of the project. But some residents who will be subject to the assessment are unhappy that they are being asked to foot part of the bill for a project they say will benefit the entire region.

Let’s look at how LIDs work, and how this one in particular is structured.

(5-21-18: updates below)

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