Act Now: Urge Seattle City Council to stop an irresponsible tax on jobs

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 04/10/2020

These are unprecedented times and we must stay focused on working together

Right now, people and businesses are suffering. The public health and economic crises are affecting everyone. The only way to heal is if everyone pulls together toward a strong and resilient recovery. We need the very best from our public, private, and philanthropic sectors to lead the healing.

Amid the hard work that leaders at the local, state, and federal levels are doing to pull our state and region together in these difficult times, you have probably also seen the headlines about a new $500 million business tax that Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales introduced on Monday.

Using this crisis to push a new tax that is 10 times bigger than the failed head tax isn't governing. It's political opportunism. This is dangerous for our local and state economic recovery.

This tax would permanently add a new 1.3% payroll tax for all employers with a payroll of $7 million or more, with exceptions for grocery stores, non-profits and certain other industries. It would directly affect an estimated 800 businesses in Seattle. As Kevin Schofield at SCC Insight observed, this includes companies such as "Nordstrom, Weyerhaeuser, Expedia, Starbucks, Holland America, REI, large hotels, Pagliacci Pizza, and many other companies whose businesses have been devastated by the shutdown."

Businesses throughout our region are fighting every day to remain viable. The last five weeks are a stark reminder that our economic ecosystem depends on the success of businesses of all sizes. This tax on jobs will impact every business, whether they pay the tax directly or not.

What you can do:

Contact the Seattle City Council today at and urge them to stop this irresponsible proposal.

Points to keep in mind:

  • We are looking at an economic recovery that will take months, if not years. Adding a tax on jobs sends the wrong message about Seattle's commitment to helping people get back to work and stabilizing our economy.
  • This crisis goes well beyond Seattle's borders, and it should not be addressed by the city alone. Our top priority should be working together as a state and region to get the federal resources we need for both relief and recovery.
  • This is a time for leadership and unity to rally Seattle, the region, and the state to recovery – not the time to reopen a divisive fight with a tax ten times larger than the failed head tax.

These are unprecedented times and we must stay focused on working together. Thank you for your quick action.