Progressive Revenue Task Force Issues Final Recommendations

The Progressive Revenue Task Force (PRTF) released its final report today with the unanimous consent of its 17 members. The City Council formed the PRTF to explore potential new progressive revenue options including an employee hours’ tax (EHT) and to identify potential investments that address Seattle’s homelessness State of Emergency.

The PRTF members highlighted the close relationship between economic growth, rising homelessness, and a severe shortage of affordable housing stock. This “housing gap” is greatest for the lowest-income households, those making 0-30% of Area Median Income, who also tend to be at the greatest risk of homelessness.

The PRTF members identified the expansive need for funding and recommended that 80% of secured funds be used for the development of long-term, deeply affordable housing with 20% to be directed towards service areas like prevention, diversion and shelter programs.

To address these needs, the PRTF members recommended that $150 million in new progressive revenues be collected annually. Half of this, or $75 million, would be generated via an EHT, and the PRTF members offered the Council options to consider with respect to possible exemptions and several proposed taxation and implementation methods.

The PRTF members recommended generating the additional $75 million through other potential means of progressive taxation; however, they only recommend pursuing those additional funds if the currently-convened “One Table” group does not pursue at least $75 million in progressive revenues. The PRTF proposes massively increased annual investments in permanent housing as the most effective way to make a measurable reduction in homelessness as well as reduce the impacts of homelessness on Seattle’s neighborhood business districts.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), PRTF co-chair, said “I’m thankful that this group of stakeholders has proposed a solution to this crisis that embeds a recognition that taxes that treat businesses equally are regressive to small and low-profit margin businesses.  Washington State has the most regressive structure of taxation in the US.  As the Federal Government makes our already regressive tax structure even more regressive with corporate tax breaks, we have a responsibility to act locally with all the tools we have available to us.”  Herbold went on to thank King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Assessor John Arthur Wilson for their Seattle Times editorial to “Align the system with the modern economy, instead of an outdated structure that relies so heavily on a narrowing base of property and sales tax,” and for their belief that “a fair tax system is one based on the ability to pay.”

“While we have made measurable improvements in outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness, the crisis continues to grow due to complex economic, societal, and health-related factors as well as a lack of significant federal and state support. Exacerbating the problem are state laws that severely limit localities’ taxing authority to primarily property and sales taxes — each layered with its own restrictions. Without a meaningful expansion of local investment in interventions that are showing promising results, I expect the crisis to continue,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), PRTF co-chair.  “Now that we have received the Task Force’s recommendations, I will continue engaging with my colleagues on the Council to develop, pass and ultimately implement a legislative proposal which succeeds in making the meaningful impacts we all seek.”

The PRTF’s Final Report, membership list, meeting materials and meeting recordings are available on the PRTF website. The 17-member PRTF was co-chaired by Councilmember M. Lorena González, Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Tony To, and Kirsten Harris-Talley. Councilmembers will review the PRTF recommendations at the next Finance & Neighborhoods Committee meeting on March 14 at 2 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The Council intends to begin developing and deliberating legislation in the coming weeks and expects to vote on a legislative proposal later this Spring.

City Council’s Statement on ICE Targeting Immigrant Rights Activist Maru Mora-Villalpando

New Americans Committee Chair M. Lorena Gonzalez and Vice Chair Teresa Mosqueda issued the following statement jointly with all nine members of the Seattle City Council in response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s initiation of deportation proceedings against immigrant rights activist, Maru Mora-Villalpando:

“We, members of the Seattle City Council, are angered that Seattle’s office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has served a ‘Notice to Appear’ to Washington-based community activist and mother, Maru Mora-Villalpando. This deportation notice appears to be a purely retaliatory action towards a known immigrant rights activist and community leader.

“Targeting of activists and those willing to speak up about injustices by ICE is received by immigrant communities as a clear intent to intimidate and silence immigrant leaders.  The detainment and threats of deportation of Baltazar Aburto Gutierrez, Ravi Ragbir, and Jean Montrevil, and now Mora-Villalpando, appear to be an act of political oppression meant to silence a growing movement highlighting injustices in detention centers as well as with our broken immigration system. We stand with Mora-Villalpando, and the immigrant community at large, and are deeply troubled by the recent direction of ICE in their enforcement actions that result in families being torn apart and communities across the country being upended and divided.

“Mora-Villalpando is a courageous advocate for social justice issues and immigrant rights in the Puget Sound region and nationally. Her leadership was crucial in building awareness of inhumane conditions, labor practices, and mistreatment of detainees at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). The immigrant detention facility is operated by the for-profit GEO Group, a corporation with a history of corruption and human rights violations in facilities across the country. Mora-Villalpando has also brought attention to the targeting of immigrants and refugees by ICE throughout our community and country, before becoming a target herself.

“Seattle is a Welcoming City, in a Welcoming State, and we condemn the targeting of activist and community leaders and cannot stay silent on this un-American activity by ICE. Mora-Villalpando is a trusted leader of our community. ICE’s action will likely spread more fear and anxiety across our immigrant communities; the outcome of this – intended or unintended – has a negative impact on public safety and the health and wellbeing of not just immigrant communities, but also their neighbors. Our city and our state is safer when immigrants feel trust in institutions and agencies tasked with keeping everyone, regardless of status, safe to live their daily lives. This act appears to be retaliation against Mora-Vilapando and a signal that can result in individuals afraid to speak up, either in acts of protest or when assistance is needed, and that is harmful for our community.

“The U.S. Constitution guarantees rights for everyone, regardless of status, and this includes the First Amendment which protects free speech, the right to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. It is disappointing we must remind our federal government of this inalienable right. Targeting Mora-Villalpando shows a disregard for human rights, and exacerbates broken trust between immigrant communities and our federal government. We demand Seattle ICE immediately stop targeting activists and community leaders. We will not be intimidated, and we stand in solidarity with Mora-Villalpando and the thousands of immigrant and refugee activists, DREAMers, community leaders and others who bravely stand, undocumented and unafraid, for justice.”

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Council President Bruce A. Harrell                    Councilmember Debora Juarez

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw                          Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda

Councilmember M. Lorena González                 Councilmember Mike O’Brien

Councilmember Lisa Herbold                             Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Councilmember Rob Johnson

Councilmember Herbold Response to AG Sessions’ Marijuana Decision

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), as chair of the Council’s committee on issues related to economic development, issued the following statement after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his intent to change the federal government’s approach to legalized marijuana:

“Seattle, with critical vision and leadership from the cannabis industry, has approached marijuana legalization diligently and responsibly, and developed thoughtful and reasonable City regulations for how marijuana establishments would operate in our communities.  We barred dispensaries from opening near schools, libraries, parks, child care centers, or playgrounds recognizing the federal government’s interest in maintaining public safety and distancing businesses from children.  Critical to this successful outcome has been the creation of cannabis trade organizations that, very early on, promoted good business practices with community safety and business responsibility as central to their mission.  

“As a city where marijuana growers and retailers are good community partners, and contribute to economic development, the federal government’s new approach is both alarming and disappointing, especially when there are much more significant issues to address.

“Seattle currently hosts approximately 42 retail locations, and dozens of related businesses. Our City has been allocated $569,891 in 2018 tax proceeds due to marijuana sales. Statewide, marijuana revenues support substance abuse programs, community health centers, the state’s portion of Medicaid, dropout prevention programs, and many other priorities. Minimizing the bad, old underground cannabis market has made our communities safer.  I hope the Western Washington United States Attorney recognizes that ending or scaling back marijuana legalization in Washington would have far more reaching implications than one might think.”

Council Announces Progressive Revenue Task Force Co-Chairs, Members

Councilmember M. Lorena González
Councilmember Lisa Herbold


SEATTLE – Following Council’s budget deliberations in November 2017, Council committed to convene an ad hoc Progressive Revenue Task Force (PRT) to identify and recommend progressive revenue options that can be dedicated toward addressing Seattle’s homelessness and affordability crisis.  

Today, the Council is announcing that Councilmembers Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) and M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide) will co-chair the Progressive Revenue Task Force, along with community co-chairs: Progress Alliance of Washington Program Director and former Councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley and Homesight Executive Director Tony To.  

“Until Washington State comprehensively restructures our regressive tax system, we need to identify any progressive tax options we can,” said Councilmember Herbold.  “During this year’s budget deliberations I recommended a per-employee tax on businesses grossing more than $10 million per year, but I’m very receptive to hearing alternative recommendations, provided the funding source isn’t built upon the backs of those least able to afford it.”

“I’m thankful to the task force members who are each committed to working with the City Council and stakeholders to develop progressive revenue solutions and spending strategies to address a homelessness crisis affecting thousands of people every day,” said Councilmember González. “As levels of homelessness continue to worsen in cities across the West coast, we must deploy bold actions that will meet the reality of the needs in our City. This task force will recommend deliberative actions yet act quickly and thoughtfully about the impacts of any new progressive tax on small businesses and the most tax-burdened people, including seniors and other low-income individuals.  The Council looks forward to receiving this esteemed group’s recommendations.”

The task force members represent people with lived experience of homelessness, representatives from business, labor, housing, subject matter representatives and service providing agencies.

Progressive Revenue Task Force Members:

  • Councilmember M. Lorena González, Co-Chair
  • Councilmember Lisa A. Herbold, Co-Chair
  • Jennifer Adams, Lived Experience of Homelessness
  • Andrew Coak, Labor Representative
  • Lisa Daugaard, Subject Matter Expert
  • Ian Eisenberg, Business Representative
  • Samantha Grad, Labor Representative
  • Kirsten Harris-Talley, Community Co-Chair
  • Katie B. Wilson, Subject Matter Expert
  • Brianna Little, Service Provider
  • Daniel K. Malone, Housing/Service Provider
  • Tom Mathews, Business Representative
  • Fernando Mejia-Ledesma, Business Representative
  • Courtney O’Toole, Lived Experience of Homelessness
  • Tony To, Community Co-Chair
  • Maiko Winkler-Chin, Housing Provider

As established by Resolution 31782, the PRT is expected to: “…develop recommendations to the Council that will (a) explore potential new progressive revenue sources, including an Employee Hours Tax; and, (b) identify investments to be paid for using those progressive revenue sources that would assist people who are homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless in obtaining and retaining stable housing.”  A resolution naming the PRT co-chairs, task force members and clarifying the task force scope and work plan, relative to the regional “One Table” task force, will be brought to the City Council on Tuesday January 2, 2018 for a vote by the Full Council.

The 16 member committee will convene in early January 2018 and is expected to report back to Council with their recommendations by February 26, 2018.  Council has expressed its intent to take legislative action on imposing an Employee Hours Tax and/or other progressive taxes by March 26, 2018, or early enough to ensure that such taxes can be imposed as of January 1, 2019.

Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

Council Sets 2018-19 Committee Assignments

The Seattle City Council today adopted Resolution 31789 establishing committee assignments for 2018 and 2019. Each Councilmember is responsible for chairing a Council committee and managing legislation related to the committee’s respective subjects. In addition, each Councilmember serves as vice chair, member and alternate on three additional committees.

Councilmembers elected Council President Harrell to continue serving as Council President. The Council President is the presiding officer of the Council, sets the Full Council agenda, assigns legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for external agencies. When the Mayor is absent from the city or incapacitated, the Council President assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.

“I’m honored to work alongside some of the most dedicated and compassionate people I’ve ever known,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “I’m thankful for my colleague’s confidence in electing me to my second term as Council President. Together, as a team, we will continue to work side by side to address the challenges facing Seattle, such as homelessness and affordability, and ensure Seattle is an equitable place for all.”

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) will chair the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee. The committee will be responsible for reviewing the City’s financial management policies and will also focus on Seattle neighborhoods, building strong communities through outreach and engagement. Councilmember Bagshaw will also chair the Budget Committee, overseeing the review of the Mayor’s proposed budget.

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide) will chair the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Committee. As chair, Councilmember González will consider policies to address gender inequality and help improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee residents. The committee will also focus on public safety, including emergency preparedness and the provision of fire and emergency medical services, to foster safe and resilient communities.  Councilmember González’s committee will also continue its work to improve police accountability systems and ongoing police reform, reducing crime and violence and reforming the criminal justice system. New to Councilmember González’s committee are policies related to education. The committee will work on issues relating to education and early learning initiatives, Seattle Public Schools, improving student outcomes, and reducing the opportunity gap.

Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) will chair the Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee. The committee will work on issues relating to technology, intergovernmental relations, regional legislative priorities, ethics and elections, and equity issues in the taxi, transportation network companies, and for-hire industry. As chair, Council President Harrell will also focus on issues relating to youth justice, alternatives to youth detention, and alternative options to youth incarceration.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) will continue chairing the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee. Councilmember Herbold’s committee will manage issues relating to civil rights and Seattle Public Utilities. As chair, Councilmember Herbold will also consider economic development policies, including small business development and support, workforce development, and improving access and opportunities to education and training for low- and middle-income workers, youth and communities of color. The committee will also manage issues relating to arts and culture in Seattle, which includes nightlife issues.

Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) will continue chairing the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee. As chair of this committee, Councilmember Johnson will take up issues involving city zoning, community planning, design guidelines, major institutions, quasi-judicial decisions, community development, and land use regulations.

Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) will chair the Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee. As chair, Councilmember Juarez will focus on issues relating to City parks, community centers, the Office of the Waterfront, the Seattle Public Library system, and public grounds, including the Seattle Center. The committee will also bring attention to Native American issues, including housing affordability, health and mental health services, services for youth, access to justice, art and culture, and historic preservation.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) will chair the new Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee. Councilmember Mosqueda’s committee will focus on housing policies and programs, investing in and promoting the development and preservation of affordable housing for workers, families, and retirees. The committee will also handle policies relating to Seattle’s energy usage, utility rates, and Seattle City Light finances. The committee will attend to matters of public health, including a Regional Health Plan and take the lead on issues relating to the Office of Labor Standards, especially workers’ rights.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle) will continue chairing the Sustainability and Transportation Committee. Councilmember O’Brien’s committee will handle matters pertaining to city-wide and regional transportation policy and planning. These issues range from pedestrian and bicycle programs, traffic control and parking policies, and overseeing the City’s coordination with regional and state departments of transportation. The committee will also have a shared-focus on Seattle’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, Councilmember O’Brien will take up matters that relate to climate and environmental protections, conservation programs, and green infrastructure.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) will chair the new Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee. Councilmember Sawant will oversee Council’s work on issues relating to services provided by the Human Services Department, including programs that meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our community. The committee will also consider matters involving public health and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), which allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services. The committee will also focus on renter rights, including but not limited to legislation intended to protect renters facing gentrification, economic evictions, excessive background checks, and unaffordable rent.


Standing Committee Committee Members Committee Meeting Days and Times*
Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Chair:  Debora Juarez

Vice-Chair:  Sally Bagshaw

Member:  Lorena González

Alternate:  Kshama Sawant

1st and 3rd Wednesdays

2 p.m.

Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Chair:  Lisa Herbold

Vice-Chair:  Kshama Sawant

Member:  Mike O’Brien

Alternate:  Rob Johnson

2nd and 4th Tuesdays

9:30 a.m.

Finance and Neighborhoods Chair:  Sally Bagshaw

Vice-Chair:  Lorena González

Member:  Bruce Harrell

Alternate:  Mike O’Brien

2nd and 4th Wednesdays

2 p.m.



Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Chair:  Lorena González

Vice-Chair:  Teresa Mosqueda

Member:  Rob Johnson

Alternate:  Debora Juarez

2nd and 4th Wednesdays

9:30 a.m.

Governance, Equity, and Technology Chair:  Bruce Harrell

Vice-Chair:  Lisa Herbold

Member:  Teresa Mosqueda

Alternate:  Sally Bagshaw

1st and 3rd Tuesdays

9:30 a.m.

Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Chair:  Teresa Mosqueda

Vice-Chair:  Debora Juarez

Member:  Sally Bagshaw

Alternate:  Lisa Herbold

1st and 3rd Thursdays

9:30 a.m.

Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Chair:  Kshama Sawant

Vice-Chair:  Bruce Harrell

Member:  Debora Juarez

Alternate:  Teresa Mosqueda

2nd and 4th Tuesdays

2 p.m.

Planning, Land Use and Zoning Chair:  Rob Johnson

Vice-Chair:  Mike O’Brien

Member:  Lisa Herbold

Alternate:  Lorena González

1st and 3rd Wednesdays

9:30 a.m.

Sustainability and Transportation Chair:  Mike O’Brien

Vice-Chair:  Rob Johnson

Member:  Kshama Sawant

Alternate:  Bruce Harrell

1st and 3rd Tuesdays

2 p.m.