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Dear Council Members,
I’m writing in strong support of the Employee Hours Tax on large businesses to raise $75 million per year for housing and homelessness services.
Council Members Herbold, Gonzalez, Sawant, O’Brien, and Mosqueda: I thank you for your leadership on this.
Council Members Johnson, Juarez, Bagshaw, and Harrell: please step up to this challenge.
Climate change and housing are intersectional issues that connect some of our deepest concerns. Because we know we can’t fight climate change without affordable urban housing and the improved transit that density allows, we urge you to come together on this.
Recently the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that for every 100 extremely low-income households in the Seattle area, there are only 28 affordable, available units. This profound imbalance pushes low-income people to the suburbs, thereby increasing carbon emissions as they rely on private vehicles, rather than walking, biking or public transportation. Investing in affordable housing options in the city will reduce pollution, improve transit options for everyone, and help to ensure that no one is unsheltered. It’s the right thing.
We appreciate the Council’s unanimous commitment, expressed in Resolution 31782, to finding new progressive revenue to address the homelessness emergency, and we support the recommendation of the Progressive Revenue Task Force for an Employee Hours Tax of at least $75 million per year, with an additional $75 million to follow from other progressive revenue sources still under review.
Although this is only a start toward building affordable housing and homelessness emergency response at the scale that’s needed, it’s a good start.
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Thank you for your leadership. We can’t wait any longer.