As a lifelong resident of Seattle, I’m concerned that the mayor and City Council are learning the wrong lessons from the flameout of the head tax.
It isn’t the power of the business community that killed this tax. A majority of residents believe their government doesn’t represent them, and that lack of faith killed this tax.
There were three things at play here. First, the idea of a tax on jobs was misguided. Councilmembers must stop listening to themselves, and in particular to Kshama Sawant, in the council echo chamber.
Secondly, this was never about fixing homelessness. It was about Sawant and wannabes building their political brand by sticking it to the rich.
Finally, it was a primal-scream moment. We’ve suffered years of disastrous cost overruns from the Seattle Department of Transportation. We’ve increased spending on homelessness, but tent camps keep getting worse. There has been a decadelong war on cars. And the City Council’s urbanist-utopia vision insists we tear down neighborhoods, and if we don’t, it is because we are racists.
Once our city government has a track record of success, it will be in a much better place to ask — not demand — more funding to solve problems.
Al Johnson, Seattle