We don’t remember anything like this happening before. The Seattle Times reports,
The Seattle City Council will consider repealing the city’s controversial new head tax less than a month after approving the measure, Council President Bruce Harrell has announced.
The move appears to have enough votes, with Harrell and six others on the nine-member council joining Mayor Jenny Durkan in a statement Monday signaling they support repealing the tax, which is supposed to fund affordable housing and homeless services.
The special meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. Harrell will sponsor the repeal legislation and expects a vote during the meeting.
As ST reporter Daniel Beekman writes,
Tuesday is also when a business-backed campaign has planned to submit petition signatures to qualify a referendum on the tax for the November ballot.
In our newsletter today (which we wish we’d held up an hour or so), we wrote that opponents were confident they had the signatures. And we cited a poll Crosscut reported on that showed widespread dissatisfaction with the City Council’s handling of taxes and homelessness.
The Times reports that the statement from the mayor and councilmembers ready to repeal the tax saying they want to avoid “a prolonged and expensive political fight.”
Geek Wire reports on the campaign’s response.
The “No Tax on Jobs” campaign has until June 14 to submit a petition with at least 17,000 signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot. The campaign expects to exceed that goal.
Before the special meeting was announced, the referendum campaign notified the city of plans to submit the signatures Tuesday morning. John Murray, a spokesperson for the campaign, told GeekWire they will wait to see how the Council votes before submitting the signatures.
“The No Tax on Jobs Coalition appreciates that the Seattle City Council has heard the voices of the people loud and clear and are now reconsidering this ill-conceived tax,” Murray said in a statement.
The business community welcomed the news.
Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Marilyn Strickland called the news the “breath of fresh air Seattle needs” in a statement provided to GeekWire.
And, of course, some councilmembers are not pleased.
In a statement, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said “a vote may go forward to repeal the tax” but that she “cannot back a repeal without a replacement strategy.” Meanwhile, Councilmember Kshama Sawant called it a “backroom betrayal” and said her office was not notified of the plan. Sawant and Mosqueda are the only councilmembers who did not co-sign the statement put out by Durkan.
The Seattle Times editorial board likes the expected “welcome reversal.” What’s not to like about it?