Over 180 business leaders, who collectively employ or through their associations represent approximately 700,000 jobs in the Seattle region, signed a letter today urging the Seattle City Council to reject a call for $75 million to $150 million in new annual taxes. Instead, signatories encourage the Council to work with the region to first develop a balanced approach that includes reform, efficiencies and priority programs with measurable outcomes to reduce the unsheltered homeless population in Seattle and King County.
These business leaders represent a range of small, medium and large employers, who share the concern expressed by the more than 300 small businesses that sent a letter to the Seattle City Council on March 14, 2018.
The letter addresses the Seattle City Council’s inability to effectively address homelessness during a period of record annual tax revenue. The letter states that while spending by the City of Seattle has increased by 39% in four years - outpacing both population increases and inflation by a rate of nearly 4 to 1 – the number of unsheltered homeless has increased by 37%.
- Taxes paid by businesses into the General Fund total $700 million annually, accounting for an estimated 57% of Seattle’s General Fund revenue.
- Seattle’s General Fund and voter-approved spending has grown from $1.28 billion in 2012 to $1.78 billion in 2016, a 39% increase.
- Over the same period, Seattle’s population grew by only 11%, and cumulative inflation was only 6.8%.
- The number of unsheltered homeless in Seattle has increased by 37% in the last three years despite the City of Seattle’s increased spending.
- Despite record tax revenues, on March 19, 2018, it was announced that the Seattle City Council had overspent the City’s revenues by an estimated $15-20 million this past year.