Report: Seattle Council used non-existent study to push head tax

May 23, 2018, 12:00 PM | Updated: 5:16 pm
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Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez. (AP)

Good news: The Seattle City Council communications director has sent me the full report and says CM Gonzalez received it. I’m looking over the report and it seems to indicate that Valdez’s report is incorrect and should be corrected. Will have an update tomorrow once I review.

According to a damning report in Forbes, the study that Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez cited in her push for a job tax doesn’t actually exist.

Seattle head tax 101

Local activist Roger Valdez cites a number of local outlets that covered the report, but argues they never saw it. They were working, essentially, off a summary of the report. But when Valdez pressed the consulting firm for the final study, it became clear it didn’t exist. Rather “it should be ready in a few days.”

Valdez finds this alarming:

That’s right. There never was a report. City leaders were citing a report that never existed, reported as fact by reporters that never verified its existence, to justify a tax on jobs.

Gonzalez has cited the report, Valdez notes, to justify demanding the hundreds of millions to solve the homelessness crisis. He takes issue with the findings, which is justifiable if there’s no report to review. And it’s beyond unethical to cite a report when you’ve not actually read it. If the comments are based on the summary of the findings, then it suggests neither the Councilwoman nor her staff read the full findings nor the details on how they came to their conclusion. If she only read the summary, Gonzalez should admit as much.

I’ve asked Gonzalez’s office for a copy of the report she cited, and have spoken with the communications director for the council. They say they’ll get back to me.

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Report: Seattle Council used non-existent study to push head tax