New Seattle business tax proposed

Jun 18, 2020
Written by wpengine

Teresa Mosqueda is the latest Seattle City Councilmember to propose a tax on large corporations to address the city’s crises with homelessness, coronavirus and protests against police use of deadly force.

Mosqueda’s plan that would target high wage corporate employees could raise up to $200 million a year for affordable housing, business assistance and community development, according to The Seattle Times. It would tax businesses’ pay to employees making at least $150,000 a year and exclude companies with payrolls of less than $7 million. Collection would start next year before sunsetting in 10 years.

This and similar business tax ideas have suffered a bumpy road with lawmakers in Seattle and Olympia.

Though Mosqueda has some business and labor support for her idea, the Downtown Seattle Association voiced its immediate opposition.

Its statement: “We continue to believe taxing jobs is bad public policy, and it’s especially ill-advised as we enter what is likely a deep recession and an unprecedented rise in unemployment.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember Kshama Sawant have proposed other business tax ideas that have not become law including a council repeal of one. Washington Retail opposed Sawant’s tax that at first the council approved, then quickly repealed after strong opposition from the business community. Durkan supported a King County business tax on which the state Legislature did not take final action earlier this year.

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