In June of 2017 the City Council passed a sales tax on sweetened beverages, to take effect on January 1, 2018. Now, with some initial data in hand, the Mayor and City Council are deciding how to spend the tax revenues over the next two years. But things haven’t turned out the way the experts predicted, raising questions about whether the “soda tax” was such a good idea in the first place. It equally raises questions about the motives of the city officials charting the tax’s future.
There was a lot happening today. New department directors, new protections for domestic workers, support for dairy workers, discussion of the proposed Waterfront LID, and what SPD is doing about recent “shots fired” incidents in the Central District.
Five City Council members sent a letter to three of their counterparts on the King County Council, asking them to spend more lodging tax revenues on affordable housing.
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.
This afternoon the City Council approved the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, sending it to the Mayor for her signature and ultimately to the November ballot.
As expected, this afternoon the City Council voted to repeal the employee hours tax, aka the “head tax,” that it enacted last month.
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.
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.
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.
Tomorrow a bill will be introduced into the City Council’s legislative process that repeals the tax imposed last year on short-term rentals such as those offered through AirBnB and HomeAway. But if you thought the city might be turning over a new leaf in its tax policy, think again.