Mayor Toni Harp used a low-key time at a City Hall event today to attack her challenger and showcase the tax hike she pushed through in 2016.
Conservative Democrat Kim Foxx walked into the event to introduce herself, hold up a photo of herself holding up a sign that said “Toni Shaw is an untouchable millionaire” in the middle of a not-so-tonight rendering of her with her mouth closed. She did not respond and the crowd laughed as she said she had seen the line around the door and headed for her car.“Does that want to go into this?” she said of people calling in support of Foxx’s candidacy. “But that’s where the audience just kept calling into this room and decided that they wanted to get a jump on the phone.”
In a development that allowed Harp to shift attention away from her and Foxx, Mayor Toni Harp hit Foxx with a tax-increase proposal for the ground zero project that would be paid for by either an income tax or a weighted-average graduated tax that would replace a basic assessment and would require the state to come up with funds to cover city costs.
Harp was skipping this event but delivered a speech for the fundraiser that afternoon and tout her team’s innovative ideas for the state housing crisis and for creating new sources of revenue.
Asked why the Downtown Development Authority’s meeting meeting was moved from November to February to give Harp more time to defend her proposed tax increase, WSDOT Director Tim Clarke noted that the meeting was convened on Thursday, which Harp would not attend because of her City Hall appearance.Turning to Harp, Clarke said, “I hope to have this pass you and give you the opportunity.”
Toni Harp still says she’s headed for re-election and has refused to say whether she will seek re-election as mayor. All indications are she will.
The mayor convened an office hours meeting on Thursday to discuss the World Trade Center project. She laid out a plan that the opposition greeted with skepticism.
But she announced that she is working on an executive budget, which she also intended to put up for a public vote. She didn’t say what could be done to attract votes without the boost of the tax increases.
She brought an unbalanced slate of proposals, none of which could pass a vote unless they had a significant number of votes from members of a single party, and she let her aides and campaign staffers talk to her voters.
Lawyers briefed her on why she has said that voters can have a say in the budget, though there is a legal challenge from both sides of the fight.
To put the health and human services department on legal footing to act on Michael Bell’s plan, Harp planned to limit the city’s ability to regulate restaurants under the state health department, and limit public subsidies for strip malls with “performance” programs to three or fewer workers.
In addition, HRA officials would play a role in delivering more funding for education, to achieve a $1.5 billion annual target, while continuing to cut $20 million from AFSCME’s Regional Services Council program. This could make it more difficult for HRA to pursue required improvements.
Harp’s health options drew only one query about health policy, and it was not how to pay for it.
All she said was that the executive summary has been released, and that it will be laid out at HRA’s November meeting.