Tuesday/ gone: the head tax

Wow. The Seattle City Council voted today to completely reverse the controversial ‘head tax’ that it had approved just on May 14.  There had been considerable opposition to it, and a grassroots effort garnered enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.  Word is that the City Council feared the head tax, as well as an education levy (already on the November ballot), would be overturned in November by the citizenry, so they cut their losses and voted to reverse the head tax.

The homelessness problem is very complicated. No question that housing is too expensive. (So – find money and build more public housing?). Yes, many corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes, by using complicated offshore tax avoidance strategies. But it’s not just about affordability, either.  Many people are on the streets because they are mentally ill, or drug abusers, and the services available to them are too thin and underfunded.

People making their cases today before the Seattle City Council. This woman has been a teacher all her life in Seattle (holding pictures of her class), said she could never afford to buy a home, and now housing is more expensive than ever. There were other colorful characters stepping up to the mike, some swearing at the City Council, others running way over their allotted time, refusing to stop speaking, and getting escorted out by security. (Also: there is a Native American guy with a hand-woven hat, on the far right).

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