Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan sided with seven city council members Tuesday, sharing their decision to repeal the city's head tax passed less than a month prior.
The $275-per-employee tax for companies with more than $20 million in annual gross revenue would have raised $47 million a year for housing and homeless services. But Tuesday night, Mayor Jenny Durkan said a repeal was the right way to go.
In Seattle City Council chambers Tuesday a community member asked, "What has changed so drastically in the past month about our housing crisis and the tax structure that you are willing to break all the promises you made to us about finding solutions?"
"What changed is listening to people in the last month," said Mayor Durkan late Tuesday night. "I heard people. It was time to take a pause, to hit reset, and to win back some of the confidence of the people."
Mayor Durkan says it is clear that there is a crisis. A recent one-day count found 12,112 people experiencing homelessness in King County.
"There became a very passionate debate in Seattle about whether we were delivering services like we should, whether the tax was the right tax," said Durkan. "We can't have the dialogue if people are yelling at each other. So I think it is a good thing for Seattle right now, that if we can heal some of these divisions and really get people to work on solutions, then there is a path forward."
Mayor Durkan said she met with Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus over the weekend at a conference. Durkan wants to pull together mayors from around the region to talk about how they can work on the issue of homelessness. She also says she met with Speaker Frank Chopp and Governor Jay Inslee about getting more help, including more funding for affordable housing.
"We also think that there is a lot of possibility in harnessing public-private partnerships to build affordable housing, both low income and middle-class housing," said Durkan. "I am going to continue to work with our regional leaders to see how they can start shouldering some of this effort."
WATCH: City council votes to repeal