In an unexpected turn, Mayor Ed Murray announced Monday that he no longer wanted a property tax to support homeless services, instead opting for a county-wide sales tax.
The measure, announced with King County Executive Dow Constantine, would add a .01 percent sales tax throughout King County. The tax is expected to raise $68 million a year, considerably more than the proposed property tax.
In the announcement, Murray stressed that homelessness is a regional issue, not something that Seattle can tackle alone.
“This path is an opportunity to make a more dramatic impact with our partners and to show accountability to the public before we move forward,” Murray said.
The proposal calls for a joint task force to determine existing needs and resources to fight homelessness and create a strategy to get people into housing, help people stay in housing and assist with mental health and substance abuse.
Just a few months ago, Murray threw his energy behind the property tax proposal that led to initiative 126, which was expected to raise $275 million over five years. The extra money would have bolstered current spending on homeless services, which was expected to hit $47 million in 2016.