“We support this proposal. There’s clearly a need for supportive services in and around Seattle for our more vulnerable community members which includes workers and small businesses,” said Chris McClain, business manager at Ironworkers Local 86.
However, the Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce both oppose the proposed tax.
Downtown Seattle Association released the following 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. Just last month over 19,000 people signed a petition in opposition to a payroll tax in Seattle. We urge the Seattle City Council to focus on Seattle’s economic recovery, getting people back to work and businesses back open rather than proposing unpopular new taxes on local jobs.”
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce released the following statement:
“Our region is in severe economic shock. We need leaders to focus on an equitable and inclusive economic recovery that gets businesses back open and people back to work. It’s still not clear how long impacts like job losses are going to last, and many businesses in Seattle and throughout our region are not in the same place they were at the start of the year. Policy proposals should reflect that reality. This conversation about public budgets and revenues is bigger than just Seattle and should happen at the state level. A new city tax on businesses at this moment will not help economic recovery.”
When asked if she has received any pushback about the proposed tax, Mosqueda said, “as we’ve talked to small businesses, medium businesses, immigrant rights advocates, housing advocates, labor friends, large businesses, universally people have said, ‘I really just wish we could do a state level income tax,’ and I think we are in the same position.”
The council member wants to see a state level solution, but right now as the financial toll mounts for Seattle, Mosqueda says a payroll tax is needed.
In 2018, a head tax passed, but was quickly repealed. In January, House Bill 2907 proposed a business tax for King County, but that bill stalled. This year, Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales co-sponsored legislation to tax Amazon and big businesses to fund emergency COVID-19 relief.
Now Mosqueda’s legislation will be considered too.