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Sales Tax, Not Property Tax, Preferred Funding Tool for Seattle's Homeless Crisis

Seattle's King County is home to an estimated 10,000 unsheltered homeless people. Local officials are trying to figure out how to raise the funds to address the crisis.
April 6, 2017, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Homeless Services
Tukwila Pantry Executive Director Joe Tice at work in King County, Washington.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

"Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is walking away from his proposal for a property tax increase that would generate $275 million over five years for homeless services," report Kate Walters and Derek Wang.

Instead of a property tax, Mayor Murray will support a countywide sales tax increase of 0.1 percent, originally proposed by King County officials. To explain the change, Mayor Murray "said it makes sense to work with the county, and the new tax would raise more money." In changing the geographic scale of his proposed solution, Mayor Murray also took a chance to lay some blame on the doorstep of the federal government. In a soundbite quoted for the article, Mayor Murray said, "This crisis remains a national failure on the part of our federal government. So rather than proposing a local property tax, we have an opportunity to make a more dramatic impact."

If all proceeds as planned, the sales tax would appear on the countywide ballot in 2018. If successful, the tax would raise an estimated $68 million a year for homeless services.

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Published on Monday, April 3, 2017 in KUOW
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