New tax ideas abound in Seattle

Jun 30, 2020
Written by wpengine

Various City Council members and Mayor Jenny Durkan are considering or have proposed new taxes to new or existing city programs.

For now, most of the ideas would affect major corporations or high wage individuals. All are expected to be controversial to one degree or another.

They include:

  • Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s plan for a tax on large corporations to address crises with homelessness, impacts from the virus and property damage caused by protests against police use of deadly force. The plan could raise $200 million a year by taxing companies with payrolls above$7 million and employees earning $150,000 a year or more.
  • A similar but larger corporate tax by Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales for coronavirus financial relief and construction of more affordable housing. It would impose a 1.7% tax on corporate payrolls in Seattle over $7 million, raising about $500 million a year.
  • Councilmember Andrew Lewis is expected to introduce a capital gains tax on the sale of personal assets such as a business or stocks. This tax could raise about $37 million a year.
  • Mayor Jenny Durkan has supported a regional tax on business to pay for housing and services for the homeless. She is expected to offer a tax proposal.

Councilmember Sawant has launched a signature-gathering campaign to qualify her tax proposal for the November general election.

Many in Seattle’s business community have expressed opposition to the payroll tax proposals. They say that added business taxes could slow Seattle’s economic recovery.

Washington Retail is tracking all tax ideas to assess how they could impact Seattle retailers. Please check for updates on Washington Retail’s website, in our e-newsletters including this one and on our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.