Tag Archives: Seattle City Council

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposes income tax for city’s ‘high-end’ households

ed murray

A sure-fire way to get re-elected: Another tax

The devil is in the “high-end” number, which Murray doesn’t define.

And this proposed tax, combined with his alleged sexual assault allegation, just may not get Murray re-elected. But then again, it’s socialist Seattle.

From Seattle Times: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will propose a city income tax on “high-end” households, he said Thursday night during a forum for mayoral candidates. On stage with six challengers in a Lake City church, Murray said he would send a proposal in the “next few weeks” for a City Council vote. He didn’t offer many details.

 “We all know that Washington state has a regressive tax system,” Murray told a crowd at the forum hosted by the 46th District Democrats.

“We can all argue about what we’re going to do about it. Those discussions have been going on since I was a kid in this city. But what I’m going to send to council is a proposal for a high-end income tax.”

Thursday’s event was the first such candidates’ forum in the 2017 race for mayor and came two weeks after a 46-year-old Kent man sued Murray for alleged child sexual abuse decades ago.

The mayor has adamantly denied the accusation and similar allegations made by two other men, who also claim Murray abused them as teenagers in the 1980s. Murray has vowed to remain in his job and continue running for a second term.

This week, former Mayor Mike McGinn and urban planner Cary Moon declared bids. They joined Murray at Thursday’s forum, along with educator and activist Nikkita Oliver, who entered the race earlier.

The mayor’s income-tax proposal came as a surprise to many in the crowd and seemingly to McGinn, who in launching his campaign Monday had called for an income tax.

For weeks, a coalition of local organizations led by the Transit Riders Union has been drumming up support for a city income tax under the slogan Trump Proof Seattle.

When asked about the campaign previously, Murray said he had supported the idea at the state level when he was a lawmaker in Olympia, but stopped short of backing Trump Proof Seattle, describing it as ill-fitted to pay for immediate needs.

Washington has long lacked an income tax because of a restrictive state law and voters have said no to statewide proposals before. A 2010 statewide initiative proposing a high-earners tax was defeated.

A Seattle tax likely would be challenged in court and could serve as a legal test case with statewide implications. “It’s going to be challenged,” Murray told the crowd Thursday. “It’s too soon to cheer … But if we win in court and we can get that high-end income tax we can shift our regressive taxes on sales tax and on property tax onto that high-end income tax.”

Asked after the forum to clarify his plan, the mayor said the income tax would be accompanied by reductions in other taxes that hit poorer people harder. During his term as mayor, Murray has backed a number of property- and sales-tax hikes.

The income tax wouldn’t be completely revenue neutral because some of the new revenue would be set aside to backfill potential cuts in federal funding by the Trump administration, Murray said.

“He didn’t steal it. I think he finally saw the wisdom of the idea,” McGinn said after the forum, reacting to Murray’s proposal. “Elections have a way if doing that sometimes.”

Murray said his initial plan is to propose a resolution stating the city’s intent to pass an income tax rather than an actual ordinance putting it into effect. That could potentially leave open the option of asking voters to weigh in later on the ballot.

Oliver declined to immediately comment on Murray’s proposal. Moon answered during a lightning round that she would not support a local income tax. Also taking part in the forum were Jason Roberts, Mary Martin and Alex Tsimerman.

During the lightning round, every candidate expressed support for allowing more duplexes and triplexes in neighborhoods now zoned for single-family houses, including Murray, who put forward and then quickly withdrew such a change in 2015.

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Seattle, King County councils approve $1.3 million in legal aid for immigrants

lorena gonzalez

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher: Proposed using your tax payer dollars to defend illegal aliens

Suck it, taxpayers. Your hard-earned money is going to defend illegal aliens whether you approve or not.

From Seattle Times: The Seattle City Council on Monday voted to create a $1 million legal-defense fund for immigrants illegal aliens whom the federal government attempts to deport. And the Metropolitan King County Council approved $750,000 for immigrant and refugee programs, including $300,000 for the defense of people in immigration court.

The city and county will distribute the money to nonprofit organizations such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to do the legal work.

City and county leaders have said local immigrant families need the help because of President Donald Trump’s plan to step up deportations.

Immigration-court cases are civil proceedings because living in the country illegally is a civil violation rather than a criminal one. Unlike in criminal cases, people who can’t afford to hire an attorney for immigration court aren’t guaranteed a public defender.

More than one-third of people with immigration-court cases in Seattle and more than 90 percent of those with cases in Tacoma lack legal representation, according to Councilmember M. Lorena González, who proposed the city fund with Councilmember Tim Burgess.

People convicted of crimes wouldn’t be excluded from getting support through the city’s fund in their unrelated immigration-court cases, according to Gonzalez and Burgess. Burgess said Monday that everyone should be afforded due process, including people facing potential deportation.

The city’s fund is separate from $250,000 Seattle is spending to help immigrants and refugees navigate life under Trump, with a focus on children in the city’s public schools.

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Seattle wants $1M legal-defense fund for immigrants facing deportation

Council member and illegal alien lover, Tim Burgess


Seattle has a MAJOR homelessness problem and they want to use tax payer dollars to protect illegals. Keep it up proggies…

From Seattle Times: A day after suing President Donald Trump over his executive order on so-called “sanctuary cities,” Seattle officials said the city plans to set up a $1 million legal-defense fund for immigrants the federal government attempts to deport.

Pending City Council approval, the money would be allocated through a competitive process to nonprofit organizations that provide legal representation to people with cases in immigration court, Councilmembers M. Lorena González and Tim Burgess said at a news conference Thursday.

Immigration-court cases are civil proceedings because living in the country illegally is a civil violation rather than a criminal one, the council member said. Unlike in criminal cases, people of modest means facing immigration charges aren’t guaranteed a public defender.

“This legal-defense fund means that when our immigrant and refugee families, friends and neighbors go to immigration court, they will not be alone,” González said.

“We will stand hand in hand with these families as they defend their right to remain in this country.”

The organizations receiving money would be expected to use it to serve immigrants with limited financial resources — people unable to hire their own attorneys.

People represented by legal counsel in immigration-court proceedings are 10 times more likely to win the right to remain in the country, González said, citing a national American Immigration Council study.

But more than one-third of people with immigration-court cases in Seattle and more than 90 percent of those with cases in Tacoma lack legal representation, the council member said.

“Compare that to the government, who is represented by an experienced immigration attorney 100 percent of the time,” she said, noting that even children appear in immigration court without representation. “This is patently unfair.”

Trump’s “mass deportation plan” is targeting “virtually all undocumented persons living and working in this country, even if they are doing so peacefully,” she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

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McGregor hopes to become 1st transgender person on Seattle City Council

matt mcgregor for seattle city council

Seattle City Council candidate Matt McGregor

Playing identity politics in Seattle. Well, I’m sure that will work heavily in his favor in proggieland.

From Seattle Times: “We’re not going back in the shadows:” That’s a message Mac McGregor wants to send with his campaign this year for Seattle City Council. McGregor is trying to become the first transgender person elected to the council, and he believes he’d be the first elected anywhere in Washington state.

The 53-year-old, who sits on Seattle Police Department’s LGBTQ Advisory Council and served on the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, said November’s election motivated him to seek office.

McGregor said President Trump’s “pretty extreme, religious-right administration” wants to roll back the clock on protections and acceptance of minorities. “They want us to be silent, but we’re not going to do it,” he said. “I’m going to stand for all marginalized people.”

The Beacon Hill resident is one of 10 candidates registered with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to run for Position 8. Position 8 and Position 9, the council’s citywide seats, are up for election this year. The council’s seven district seats will be up in 2019. Position 8 is an open seat because Councilmember Tim Burgess announced in December he would not seek re-election.

Other than McGregor, the candidates include former Tenants Union of Washington State executive director Jon Grant, local NAACP Vice President Sheley Secrest, Washington State Labor Council political director Teresa Mosqueda and Washington State Human Rights Commission chair Charlene Strong.

Others are Ryan Asbert, who has promised to make council decisions based on a constituent-input app; Hisam Goueli, a Northwest Hospital doctor who wants to develop city-run health insurance; James Passey, who describes himself as a Libertarian; Rudy Pantoja, whose video-recorded interaction with a North Precinct police-station opponent at City Hall in August went viral; and Jenn Huff, are also registered.

Grant’s campaign has raised the most money — nearly $76,000 — most of it through the city’s new democracy-vouchers taxpayer program. Mosqueda’s campaign has raised about $53,000 and Goueli more than $11,000. The other candidates have each raised less than $10,000.

The outcome of the Position 8 race could have a significant impact on Seattle politics: Burgess is one of the nonpartisan council’s longest-tenured members and is widely considered the most moderate voice on a panel of progressives (HAHAHAHA‼!).

McGregor is a former martial-arts competitor, coach and gym owner with “a black belt in 17 different styles.” He grew up in Florida in a “ very dysfunctional family.”

“It was my community that stepped up and made a difference in my life … giving me rides to school events and making sure I had a sandwich,” he said. “That really taught me to give back to my community.”

The candidate, who lives with his wife and teenager, said he thought twice about launching a campaign, wondering whether someone might target his family. “I’ve been pretty public about who I am for a while, but you put yourself under a different level of scrutiny running for office,” he said.

McGregor said he agrees with Mayor Ed Murray on many issues, but believes the way the city has been carrying out evictions and cleanups of unauthorized homeless encampments hasn’t been fair. “I understand it’s a complex problem. There’s no easy answer to the homeless issue we have in our city,” he said. “Even if we took everybody off the street who was there today and gave them housing, we’d have another homeless problem in six months.”

He said he’d like to see the city get community members more involved in cleaning up encampments. “I’m a big community organizer and some groups are already starting to do it,” he said. “

Other key issues for McGregor include police reform and the persistent gap in pay between men and women. He said he helped develop training for the Seattle Police Department around interacting with transgender people.

McGregor said the city needs to “keep asking more” of developers in the creation of affordable housing so that teachers, nurses and police officers aren’t priced out.

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Shocker, not: Seattle’s gun-sale tax falls way short of projections in first year

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Seattle Council President Tim Burgess, sponsor of the gun tax

Expect the progressives on the Seattle City Council to come up with another tax.

From Seattle Times: Seattle’s tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition raised less than $200,000 during its first year, according to Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess. The city had previously kept the revenue information confidential to protect taxpayers’ privacy, as reported in a recent Seattle Times story.

In an email sent to The Times Tuesday, Burgess wrote:

“City and state laws prohibit the city from releasing specific tax information when such information is likely to identify specific taxpayers. In this context, we can report that there were approximately 15 potential firearm and ammunition taxpayers in the city for 2016. During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.”

The city is using the tax to support gun-violence research at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. But the city isn’t spending the money until a 2015 lawsuit challenging the tax is resolved.

Burgess spearheaded the tax, which was adopted by the council in 2015 and took effect Jan. 1, 2016. When Burgess proposed the tax, he said the city’s budget office had estimated it would raise $300,000 to $500,000 a year.

Though the money from the tax isn’t being used, the research it’s intended to pay for is moving ahead, with $275,000 that the council allocated for 2016 and 2017 coming out of the city’s general fund.

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Facing rental crisis, Seattle creates a renters’ commission to explore new laws

government solve all problems

And by “explore” they really mean “implement.”

From Seattle Times: The Seattle City Council on Monday voted unanimously to create what is believed to be the nation’s first renters’ commission, which will push laws to help a growing group that makes up 54 percent of all households yet has a weak voice in City Hall.

As rents have skyrocketed across Seattle and long-time tenants have been priced out, advocates for renters have said it was a constituency that hasn’t been heard as a unified group.

Renters could individually contact council members, or take time off work or school to come to a daytime meeting. But they had nowhere near the organized clout of homeowners — who had long dominated city-sanctioned neighborhood groups to push politicians on their agendas — or landlords, who pool money for lobbyists and opposed the renters’ commission.

The 15-member group of renters will meet regularly and pass their ideas directly to City Council members who make laws, and to other officials who help shape and enforce them.

“To renters, your life and your voice matters and the City Council affirmed that today,” said Zachary DeWolf, who first proposed the commission idea and is president of the Capitol Hill Community Council.

The new commission is mandated to seek out members of long-marginalized communities to sit on the volunteer board, such as immigrants, low-income residents, felons, those who have been homeless and members of the LGBTQ community. The average Seattle renter earns about half of what a homeowner makes, and is disproportionately more likely to be a person of color.

The commission itself won’t have any direct power, but it will provide a direct line to City Hall for a constituency that historically has had a very difficult time organizing.

The commission will set its own agenda after the group is formed. Among the hot topics its members are likely to wade into are the pace of apartment construction, laws to protect tenants from being evicted, Airbnb and other rental services, and rent control — which is illegal statewide.

They’ll also be required to help make sure that existing laws to protect tenants are actually enforced, including a new regulation to cap move-in fees, and a first-come, first-served application process for tenants that landlords are suing over.

Even with the very topic of renter civic engagement on the agenda at Monday’s council meeting, only a handful of renters showed up.

“We’re busying working to pay off rising rents in this city, we don’t have time to come to City Council meetings,” said Mathew Ellenberger, a University of Washington student who spoke at the meeting. He lamented that when he began renting here two years ago, he had no clear, central resources to figure out basic things like what to pay for a security deposit.

Landlord groups opposed the commission, saying it was unfair to give renters a special line to City Hall when most legislation pits the interest of renters against landlords. Property owners say rising property taxes have all but forced them to raise rents, and they fear further regulations would make their situation even harder.

Sean Martin, a spokesman for the Rental Housing Association of Washington, which represents landlords, says it’s disingenuous to say renters’ voices aren’t being heard when several pro-renter laws have passed in recent years. “Right now, tenant advocates, anything they throw against the wall, it sticks,” Martin said.

Martin said landlords asked for non-voting positions on the commission but the city didn’t include that in its plans.

Councilman Tim Burgess spearheaded the legislation to create the commission and found co-sponsors in Council members Lisa Herbold, Mike O’Brien and Debora Juarez. Mayor Ed Murray will sign the bill, his office said.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Homosexual Seattle mayor to give State of City address at mosque, slams Trump administration

ed-murray

Trump Derangement Syndrome on steroids: Where you have a homosexual mayor and advocate for the LGBT community giving a speech in a Muslim place of worship, in which their Islamic law considers homosexual acts a punishable crime.

From KIRO7: Mayor Ed Murray plans to give his State of the City address next week at a mosque in North Seattle. The address on Tuesday, his spokesman said, is meant to stand with the Seattle Muslim community “as we fight sanctioned discrimination by the Trump Administration.”

Murray made the announcement Monday with City Council President Bruce Harrell. This will be the first time Murray has held one a major speech to Council outside City Hall, though previous mayors have done so, his staff said.

Idris Mosque was opened in 1981 and is open to Muslims and non-Muslims.

“Both the City and Idris Mosque are committed to the American ideal of separation of church and state,” Murray’s spokesman, Benton Strong, said in an e-mail statement. “With this address Mayor Murray and Council are standing with Seattle’s Muslim community in their house of worship as we fight state sanctioned discrimination by the Trump Administration.”

“Throughout its history Seattle has stood with communities facing persecution from the government, including during the civil rights era at Black churches. “

The address will be given during a special Seattle City Council meeting which will be open to the public. It will be led by Harrell at 9:30 a.m. Doors open an hour earlier.

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