King County Budget Proposal Includes New Sales Tax for Housing for Homeless
King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a new 0.1% sales tax to fund housing for chronically homeless citizens. The new sales tax would fund $400 million in facilities and other behavioral health supports.
The plan, which would require approval from the state Legislature, calls for the purchase of distressed motels, hotels, nursing homes and similar facilities for use as permanent housing, with services. Under the proposal, the plan would fund facility purchases enough to house about 2,000 people living without permanent housing for at least a year, and other behavioral health support programs.
Constantine has expressed frustration with Washington state’s regressive tax system which leaves the county with few options for raising revenues. The proposal also called for a cut of 450 jobs across departments as a result of the economic downturn. About 50 jobs would see layoffs, as the other job losses will occur through attrition or voluntary buyouts for retirement-eligible employees.
The County Council will consider the proposals and either alter or approve them by mid-November. To see the full press release, click here.