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Sue Lani Madsen: Regressive Progressive in Seattle



If the Seattle City Council had a mantra, it would be "the most regressive tax structure in the country." So the council on Monday unanimously voted that he was regressive with a poll tax.

The same Seattle City Council that the taxation of sugary drinks was suppressing consumption, had a tax on employment, provided it did not suppress job creation. It will apply to companies with gross sales in excess of $ 20 million regardless of size. Originally proposed for $ 500 per employee, a $ 275 compromise was negotiated after Amazon stopped working on its current major expansion projects.

While an estimated 585 companies will pay the tax, Amazon was clearly the target of councilwoman Kshama Sawant and her comrades.

And yes, the Democratic Socialists used the word comrades to describe themselves at the assembly on Monday. They referred to "workers" and "bosses" as if they were auditioning for a role in a Soviet moral game of the Cold War. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post, has been declared a symbol of all evil in capitalism.

It was called the "Durkan-Bezos compromise," which co-conspired with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Amazon. There were a few other points of view among the Socialist Alternative Chorists, who complain of $ 275 per capita.

Seattle Head Tax is expected to contribute $ 48 million, or 1

percent of Seattle's total city budget for 2018. All funds will be earmarked for a growing homeless population, which will increase funding for a still-to-be-set basket of programs by 76 percent. Seattle's spending on his homeless population has exploded in the last four years, with little accountability and no results, as have a few other non-socialists who have testified. Some demanded an audit, and Mayor Durkan promised transparency

But the most surprising finding after Seattle's head tax debate was not realizing that the city of Seattle spends almost twice Spokane's budget per capita without being twice as handsome. It was not even clear that Comrade Sawant is a truly believing Marxist. It has been learned that the city of Spokane already has a poll tax.

Spokane's tax rate is based on the size of a business rather than gross revenue, in a two-tier business license fee structure. Basic registration is $ 113 with an additional $ 10 per capita fee for companies with one to five employees, $ 15 per capita for six to 10 and $ 20 per capita for 11 or more. Non-profit companies pay half of the basic fee and are exempt from pollutant tax.

Brian Coddington, Director of Communications and Marketing for the City of Spokane, quoted the figures for 2017. The flat fee share increased by about $ 2.2 million. The poll tax adds another $ 1.7 million per year, or 0.2 percent of Spokane's total budget in 2018.

Spokane's head counts all part-time and temporary workers alongside all business owners and "every person employed or employed by each Companies within the city and / or individuals performing part of their duties in the city of Spokane. "A sole trader and his spouse are exempt.

Even at $ 20 per capita, the impact on Spokane Jobs is minimal. It's like a $ 1.99 monthly credit card charge for a marginally useful app – not enough to complicate the download, but not high enough to cause the hassle of logging out. Regressive business taxes of any magnitude influence the economic climate.

There is another message in Seattle. More regressive taxes give the Seattle City Council a boost for state income tax. Their attempt at an urban income tax was blocked by a judge, but is challenged. As the Socialist Choir sang after the Seattle vote, "We will be back for more." This message is not to be confused.


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