Employers' efforts to reverse the city's recently passed business tax treaty open a new phase in the belligerent struggle for Seattle's response to the homelessness crisis. Deadline for 17,632 signatures is June 15.
A coalition of companies officially launched a campaign on Friday to lift Seattle's poll tax through a citizens' referendum, marking a new phase in the city's contentious debate over the homelessness crisis
"We have 17,632 good signatures by June 15 to vote for them in November to give Seattle a referendum on the subject, and I think even more on the Seattle Council, "said Saul Spady, president of an advertising firm and grandson of Dick Spady, the founder of Dick & # 39; s drive-in.
The referendum campaign, which calls itself No Tax On Jobs, is headed by James Maiocco, chief business development officer at the Redmond company Pushpay Tech company, following a submission Friday with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC ). The group had no political contributions since Friday. Spady is listed as the secretary of the group.
On Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a tax of $ 275 per full-time employee to be raised in Seattle from next year on companies with at least $ 20 million in revenue.
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The $ 47 to $ 50 million expected to be taxed each year would be used to fund new low-wage housing and homeless shelters was adopted simultaneously with the tax. Current spending decisions would be made as part of the city budget process in the fall.
To qualify for the autumn referendum, supporters of the referendum must collect valid signatures from 17,632 Seattle voters – 8 percent of voter turnout in the last mayoral election – within 29 days of the effective date of the decree, after the city of Clerk & # 39; s office. Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the decree on Wednesday. If the referendum receives enough signatures, the city council must vote it at the next scheduled election. A main election is scheduled for 7 August, although the deadline for voting on 11 May has expired. The next general elections will be on 6 November, when voters are already presented with a property tax levy to finance education. Seattle's exploding homeless population is a symptom of our city's extraordinary economic growth and astronomical real estate prices, "said SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, an association for health and behavior health workers, from many of them work directly with the homeless. "The companies that benefit the most – the top 3 percent – should rightfully pay a reasonable fee to address the issues they cause."
At least 585 companies would be taxed due to 2016 municipal tax revenue, including profitable technology (19659003) City Council members and Durkan did not return requests for comment on late Friday.
State legislators are also considering taking steps to reverse Seattle's new tax. Senator Mark Mullet, an Issaquah Democrat, said he plans to introduce legislation next year that would discourage cities from introducing both business and professional taxes as well as poll tax, which would prevent Seattle from keeping the pass. "
Cities like Lynnwood, Kirkland, Redmond, and Vancouver charge their employees per capita fees – in effect taxes – as part of their urban business licenses, and Lynnwood charges $ 93 per year for each employee who works 15 hours or more Kirkland Requires $ 105 Per Full-time Employee
But with the passage of the principal tax, Seattle appears to be the only community in the state to have both a poll tax and a corporate and employment tax.
Mullet said he I have support for his proposal from Republicans. "I need to find even more supporters of the Democrats," Mullet said.
He said he also supports more government funding for affordable housing and is optimistic that "the political will exists Investments "
Companies and some residents of Seattle have been upset about the tax and call it a job killer, questioning the efficiency of past spending on homelessness programs in the city.
Spady said he expects corporate signatures for the referendum in their facilities. The campaign also plans to use paid signature collectors, he said.
The effort is supported by an "incredibly diverse mix of individuals, small businesses, and large businesses across all sectors of Seattle," Spady said, though he disclosed certain names that have over his own company, Cr8tive empowerment, and Dick, who is owned by members of his family, but he does not directly own.
James Sido, spokesman for the Downtown Seattle Association, said the organization remains firmly against VAT. "We hear very much from our membership on a referendum," he said.
The Seattle Times editors on Wednesday called for a referendum to lift the poll tax, but newspaper president Alan Fisco said the company has not or does not plan on funding the referendum.
The campaign will ensure that the fight to respond to the homeless accidents declared by the City and King County leaders in 2015 continues.
Homelessness in King County has increased by almost 23 percent since 2014, to nearly 12,000 at the last time, including a huge increase in people sleeping outside. The results of a homelessness count in 2018 are expected by the end of May.
In November, the city council barely rejected a poll tax that would have brought in $ 25 million and months earlier this year would have spent the drafting and drafting of a successor law. Bills released in April targeted $ 75 million.
Corporate groups immediately rejected the measure, but it was Amazon who sparked a business backlash on the vote with the retailer's statement earlier in the month
Durkan, who had hinted that they had a higher tax of $ 500 each Rejecting Head made a compromise with councilors last weekend lowering the tax to $ 275 and fixing an expiration date of 2023
Amazon said after the vote that it would proceed with the construction of a building to be built during the deliberations in the City Council has stalled, but fears future growth in Seattle and continues to evaluate options for another building that had leased it.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the referendum on Friday.