Thomas Gallatin / August 10, 2017

Seattle to Property Owners: Pay for Political Speech

The city levies a tax on property owners in order to pay for its “democracy voucher” program.

Leftists appear to have cornered the market on bad ideas. As if the $15 an hour minimum wage fiasco isn’t bad enough, the “brilliant” city leaders in Seattle have come up with yet another “social justice” wealth redistribution scheme — “democracy vouchers.” And what are these “democracy vouchers”? Essentially, they are the result of a tax levied on all Seattle property owners (and only property owners) with the funds collected to be distributed via a voucher program in which Seattle residents can give funds to the political candidate of their choosing. In other words, property owners would be forced to pay for the political speech of non-property owners.

Thus, property owners are footing the bill for politicians they may not agree with, all in the guise of equality. As one Seattle property owner opined, “It puts other people’s political beliefs in my mouth, so to speak.” What this tax truly amounts to is a penalty on property and those who actually have the most invested in seeing the city prosper. It is also an abuse of an individual’s right of conscience. No one should be forced to pay for the political speech of those with whom they disagree.

Another example of the abuse caused by these “democracy vouchers” is a woman who owns rental property in Seattle. Due to the fact that she is not a resident of the city, she does not have a right to avail herself of the vouchers. Even worse, the candidate who has received a majority of the vouchers is a housing activist campaigning on “collective bargaining rights” for renters, something many rental owners firmly oppose. And yet their money is being used to support a candidate who would potentially ruin their business.

While stealing from the “rich” to pay for the poor makes for a feel-good twist on a classic fairy tale, in reality it is still stealing, which is neither just nor beneficial.

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