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Seattle City Council

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Bill Radke talks to Seattle resident and software engineer Ashok Chandwaney about why he supports a Seattle income tax that he would eventually need to pay.

Michelle DeLappe, Seattle tax attorney with the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer, says the tax passed by the Seattle City Council is illegal and she would love to help take the case up in court. 

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Seattle's City Council has unanimously passed an income tax on high earners in the city. Next stop, court. 

The Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based conservative think tank, is already gearing up for a legal challenge against the ordinance.  

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Flickr Photo/Seattle City Council (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/U5ehfF

By Monday, Seattle could be the first city in Washington to adopt an income tax. The Seattle City Council's finance committee has approved a tax on high earners, which would go into effect in 2019.

Bella, a pot belly pig from Seattle, gets a weekly manicure. She used to get bubble baths, but she's become too heavy for her own to lift into the tub, so she settles for showers.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Louren Reed first saw the sign at Eckstein Middle School in north Seattle: “No dogs, cats, or pot bellied pigs.”

The Seattle City Council will likely pass an income tax in July, aimed at income above $250,000 for a single filer (above $500,000 for those filing jointly).

Bill Radke speaks with Katie Wilson of the Transit Riders Union and Trump-Proof Seattle Coalition, who supports the tax, hoping that it leads to more economic equity in the city and pays for needed services. She also believes that the 2 percent tax is nominal for citizens, though it will potentially raise $125 million.  

Also in the studio, Matt McIlwain from the Madrona Venture Group disagrees with the tax, concerned it will discourage high-earners from moving to Seattle or remaining in city limits. He also notes that while the income tax is aimed at only certain people now, history shows that taxes like this often wind up being spread to a much larger population. 

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about why he sponsored a resolution saying Seattle will uphold the Paris Climate Agreement and how city leaders can get the city to reduce its carbon footprint. 

Lisa Herbold at the former Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle’s Gatewood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Seattle City Council members have released details of a proposed income tax on high-income residents.

The proposed legislation, released Monday, would levy a flat 2 percent tax on annual income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for couples filing joint taxes.  

René LeBeau of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission says campaigns have a special form for people who want to donate but misplaced their vouchers.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Through campaign events and door-to-door canvassing, Seattle political candidates are stepping up their search for so-called “Democracy Vouchers.” So far, the vouchers have translated into more than $200,000 in campaign contributions for qualifying candidates.

Where affordable housing could go in Seattle's Chinatown-International District
City of Seattle

Big changes for Seattle's Chinatown-International District are just one vote away. A Seattle City Council committee Tuesday passed zoning legislation to increase density in the historic neighborhood.

Based on requests from residents, though, the council is delaying its final vote on the matter.

A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is scheduled to sign off on a new tax for sugary drinks Tuesday. The City Council passed the bill earlier this week.


File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with Jessa Lewis and Sean Flynn about a new lawsuit against the cap on move-in fees that was enacted in Seattle.

Flynn, the board president of landlord group Rental Housing Association that filed the suit, argues that the law harms smaller landlords, the last people in the city keeping housing reasonably affordable.

Lewis, the executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington state, claims that the caps are reasonable and these kinds of laws are all that allow people to still live in the city. 

A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

The Seattle City Council revised a bill that would impose a tax on sweetened beverages at about 1.75 cents per ounce.

Will diet drinks be included in that tax?

Housing in the Yesler Terrace area.
KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

A landlord group is suing the city of Seattle over a new law that caps move-in fees and allows renters to pay their deposit in installments over several months.

The ordinance was unanimously passed by the City Council in December and came into effect in January.

Seattle Police Officer Louis Chan, center, talks with a man in Ballard about his erratic and threatening behavior. Chan is partnered with a social worker to help deescalate volatile situations.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

If people want to take pictures or video of police making an arrest they have the legal authority to do so in Seattle. The Seattle City Council passed a so-called "Public Safety Bill of Rights" on Monday.

Lorena Gonzalez at her election night party on Nov. 3, 2015, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Jeannie Yandel talks to Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez about the legislation the City Council passed that will increase civilian oversight of the Seattle Police Department. 

Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Housing activist Jon Grant wants to replace departing Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgesss and, like most candidates in Seattle this year, affordability is his top issue.

"We can no longer let the market dictate to us what is acceptable in terms of our housing market" Grant said.

Recruits from around the region, including Seattle Police Department, on the first day at the police academy.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

After years of work, the Seattle City Council is finally going to vote on police accountability legislation.

A council committee is expected to vote on the bill Thursday and it's expected to go to the full council next week.

bikes in Seattle
Flickr Photo/papahazama

When bikes are stolen, there’s no easy systematic way of keeping track. If they are found, returning them to the owner can be difficult.

Just ask ­­­­Christopher Schumaker, a bicycle deliveryman.


'Week in Review' panel Chris Vance, Bill Radke, Erica C. Barnett and Knute Berger.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Two Washington state Republicans voted against President Trump's health care bill, one voted in favor and one has better things to do and skips it altogether.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray denies new allegations that he paid for sex.

Will Seattle finally have an income tax?

May 2, 2017

On Monday the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution to pursue an income tax on the richest households. This is the first step towards Seattle passing an ordinance that would impose a 1.5 percent tax on the incomes of those making over $250,000 a year.

Proponents say it could raise $125 million a year. But critics, including the Seattle Times Editorial Board said last week that this move hurts more than helps the city’s cause. 

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle officials have committed themselves to trying to adopt the city's first income tax. Monday, the City Council passed a resolution to start the process.

But the city faces legal uncertainty in this area. That's because the state Supreme Court once ruled an income tax unconstitutional, and no city or county has approved one ever since.

A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposed soda tax will now include diet beverages.

Murray's original plan only included sugary drinks and received pushback. He said Thursday that the addition of diet drinks comes out of a desire for equity.

An example of a 400 square foot backyard cottage.
KUOW Photo/paintchipdiaries (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/CXL53

Seattle officials are taking another shot at regulating Airbnb, VRBO and other vacation rentals. City Councilmember Tim Burgess is proposing new rules after a similar plan last year attracted opposition from the rental industry.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The Seattle City Council is not commenting on child sex abuse allegations against Mayor Ed Murray.

A lawsuit filed last week in King County accuses Murray of repeatedly raping and molesting a 15-year-old boy in the mid-1980s.

An example of a 400 square foot backyard cottage.
KUOW Photo/paintchipdiaries (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/CXL53

Backyard cottages and mother-in-law units are back on the city of Seattle's priority list — and they will be for at least the next year. City officials want to make it easier for people to build them in order to add to the housing stock.

Crosscut reporter David Kroman.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Crosscut city reporter David Kroman about the recent move by the City Council to equip Seattle's officers with body cameras by the end of 2017. Kroman says that multiple groups are concerned about privacy issues, decreased accountability for officers, and the possibility that footage could be used to identify undocumented immigrants. 

Housing in the Yesler Terrace area.
KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

Just over half the households in Seattle are renters. And they may soon get a formal voice at City Hall.

Legislation to be introduced to the City Council this week would create a 15-member commission to advise on issues of development and affordability and represent tenant rights.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Seattle lawmakers are on the verge of rezoning each neighborhood to be denser, taller versions of what they are now. 

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to start the process Tuesday with a vote to rezone the University District. It’s part of what city leaders call HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda), the city’s response to Seattle's affordable housing crisis.


M. Lorena González
KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

New moms and dads who work for the city of Seattle will now be allowed 12 weeks of paid leave. The City Council unanimously adopted a new parental leave policy Monday with the support of Mayor Ed Murray.

Supporters say expanding the paid parental leave law is a step toward closing the gender pay-gap.


Where will Seattle put its $3 billion?

Feb 8, 2017

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Weekly reporter Sara Bernard about the Seattle City Council's decision to divest $3 billion from Wells Fargo for their connection to the Dakota Access pipeline and questionable business practices. Bernard explains why the council is focused on placing their money with a bank that they feel is more ethical and how hard that may actually be. 

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