Kohl-Welles Hopes to Direct Additional $184 Million to Affordable Housing
King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles is announcing she will no longer co-sponsor a proposal from the County Executive to significantly fund maintenance costs at Safeco Field. She will also introduce an amendment that would massively boost the proposal’s investment in affordable housing by $184 million.
Under the terms of the proposed amendment, 52 percent of the Hotel/Motel Lodging Tax would be dedicated to affordable housing, up from the 37.5 percent in the current plan, which represents an increase of $184 million in new funding for housing.
This additional investment would be funded by a decrease in the tourism portion of the existing plan, including cuts to the Mariners stadium funding proposal, which would be reduced from $190 million to $25 million.
The arts, culture, and heritage portion of the proposal would remain at the minimum mandated by state law (37.5 percent).
Kohl-Welles, who serves as chair of the council’s Health, Housing, and Human Services committee, is issuing the following statement:
The existing proposal to fund up to $190 million for maintenance at Safeco Field is simply the wrong amount at the wrong time.
The bottom line is our region is experiencing a major housing crisis. If a government declares something a state of emergency, then the public deserves to have their elected officials act accordingly.
I continue to believe this does not have to be an “either/or” argument.
We can strike the right balance and find a way to meet the Mariners’ stated basic maintenance needs while also acknowledging the immense, immediate need to address our housing crisis.
We can also recognize the importance of our tourism industry and maintain a consistent revenue stream that will continue to attract visitors to our region, which in turn generates revenue for important county services and programs.
I believe my proposal meets these goals.
The next hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday, August 29th at 9:30am.