So now that we know Seattle’s own laws created a shortage of housing in the city while at the same time reducing the amount of take-home pay for lower-income residents, what is the City Council’s solution? More government.
In 2017, King County and Seattle spent over $195 million to combat homelessness, which included city, county, state, federal and charity spending. Surely the massive amount of spending had an impact on the problem? No, homelessness actually increased last year.
But don’t worry, the City Council has a plan. It had the great idea to institute another tax, known as a “head tax.” The city is going to tax its largest business $500 for every employee. This money would then be used to build “affordable housing.” It is hard to see how that could be done with the current zoning laws, which helped start the crisis in the first place, still in place.
After the City Council voted 9-0 for the ordinance, business leaders spoke out, and Amazon paused construction on a project, pitting hard-working construction workers against do-nothing, full-time protesters. After some negotiating between the City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan, the head tax was reduced to $275 for every employee.
This may seem like a win, but like everything in Seattle, all is not as it seems. Along with the lower rate, so far the allocation of the funds is non-binding. Meaning there is no plan to spend the money. It could easily be spent on non-homeless issues.
What Seattle has done is so poorly planned, even some of the homeless are calling out the city for its excessive spending.
“Get the hell out of my way!” the wise man once said.