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City officials say there is no ‘Plan B’ now that head tax has been repealed

SEATTLE -- The Seattle City Council repealed the business head tax, which promised to bring $47.5 million every year for the next five years to help fight the homeless crisis. However,  one council member says there is not alternative plan moving forward.

“If there was a Plan B, I would have voted for that Plan B,” Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said.

On Tuesday, the  City Council voted down the business head tax in a 7-2 vote, less than a month after unanimously approving it. Mosqueda was one of two council members who voted against repealing the head tax.

Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the repeal Wednesday.

“I have asked our colleagues, I have asked the mayor, please don’t repeal without a replacement strategy,” Mosqueda said.

Now the city will no longer be able to fund the plans that the head tax dollars were expected to go toward, she added.

She says the last thing she wants to do is raise taxes on property or sales, so now she’s thinking of anything possible. One of her plans is to use the empty Harborview Hall, which was used as a dorm for health care providers, as housing for homeless people.

“That’s what it looks like to think outside of the box. I want to open every opportunity to get folks inside and off of our streets,” said Mosqueda.

However, for the majority of the council and the mayor, the head tax needed to be repealed immediately.

“It became very clear to me that people didn’t support this. I think it’s really important for government to listen to the people, and when we don’t get it right, we reset,” said Durkan.

Durkan says the city owes it to all of the people of Seattle that elected officials find the right answer to addressing the homeless problem before they move forward.

However, Mosqueda says as it stands right now, there is not set plan moving forward.

“The urgency is there, the need has not changed,” said Mosqueda.