Taxes

Seattle's Redistribution Scheme Reversed

The city council repealed the "head tax" passed just last month to "combat homelessness."

Nate Jackson · Jun. 13, 2018

In May, the Seattle City Council class warriors unanimously enacted a head tax — a $275 penalty for each full-time employee of a company earning annual revenue of at least $20 million. Yet in the face of stiff opposition, the council reversed course Tuesday, dropping the tax in a 7-2 vote.

Some 600 Seattle employers would have been hit by the tax, which was supposed to fund income redistribution to address the city’s homeless crisis. Amazon and Starbucks led the charge to oppose it because, obviously, the tax would destroy jobs. (It’s worth noting that homeless people are generally jobless.) Amazon even halted construction on a new office tower in downtown Seattle. While Amazon’s billionaire chief, Jeff Bezos, is no friend of Liberty, he got this one right — even if he is a hypocrite. The final straw was likely Monday’s announcement that a business-supported group called No Tax on Jobs had already gained enough signatures to challenge the tax on the November ballot.

Kshama Sawant, the socialist council member who pushed the tax in the first place, lamented, “I have a news flash for council members who capitulated to this in lightning speed: This was never going to be easy in the face of mass corporate misinformation. It’s a complete betrayal of working people.” Actually, the real economic fact is that repeal will save a lot of Seattle jobs.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and the members of the council who reversed course didn’t exactly admit they were wrong, though. “It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis,” their statement said. “We heard you … [and will] repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.”

In other words, you selfish jerks are ruining our redistribution scheme. But don’t worry; Seattle’s socialists will come up with another plan to confiscate money.

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