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New ideas sought with Seattle's big business tax struck down

A chaotic vote stalled the city’s push to solve the homeless crisis. Drowned out by protesters, the city council on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, rolled back a tax on big business with nothing on the table to replace it. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - A chaotic vote stalled the city’s push to solve the homeless crisis. Drowned out by protesters, the city council rolled back a tax on big business with nothing on the table to replace it.

Hitting reset and moving forward won't be so easy. A task force spent months researching solutions to the city's homeless crisis and recommended the big business tax as the top option.

As for other possibilities, property taxes are already pushed to the limits and a sales tax would hurt the poor. Housing advocates said the ball is now in the court of the business community to drum up its own ideas.

“I think that they bear a lot of responsibility now,” said Andrew Coak, a case worker with Downtown Emergency Service Center.

Coak is talking about Seattle's business leaders, and their role in addressing the housing crisis which he said will require tens of millions of dollars a year just to catch up.

“There's no real solution out there that is as well considered as the EHT was to address this issue,” Coak said, who as a member of the Progressive Revenue Task Force was one of the people to recommend the big business tax as a funding source.

However, with the employee hours tax now repealed following a contentious hearing at city hall, the question looms on how to move forward. Business leaders are reaffirming their commitment to partner with the city on alternate ideas.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said instead of talking revenue, she's going to talk results.

“First we need to know what solutions are going to work,” Durkan said. “We need to know what's going to work and then go to the public when we need more resources. that's my plan."

POLL: Are you confident the council will find a new plan to fix the homeless crisis? Answer the poll below or click here.



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