OPINION | Seattle’s tax on job creation

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BETWEEN the pandemic and civic unrest, Seattle’s economy isn’t in the best shape.

Yet now the City Council has decided this is the perfect moment to slap businesses with a large new tax on employment. In a misnomer for the ages, they’re calling it the “JumpStart Seattle” tax.

 

Recall that in 2018 Seattle passed a $47 million annual “head tax,” only to repeal it after a furious public realized it penalized job creation. No matter, the socialists who dominate the City Council passed a new iteration this week that’s more than four times bigger and punishes employers for paying good wages.

 

Beginning next year, some 800 businesses with a payroll over $7 million will pay a tax of between 0.7% and 2.4% on all salaries over $150,000. Government jobs are of course exempt, and the City Council already has plans to spend the estimated $200 million or more in annual revenue on affordable housing, Green New Deal projects, and other progressive dreams.

 

Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda says the tax will create a “more robust and resilient economy,” but how taxing job creation accomplishes that is a mystery. The tax will stifle economic upward mobility, since employers will have an incentive not to raise pay above $150,000. Even before Mayor Jenny Durkan tolerated the recent weeks-long experiment in anarchy in downtown Seattle, it was clear the city’s business climate had grown increasingly hostile.

 

Ms. Durkan has “significant concerns” about how the tax will affect “the city’s ability to rebuild an economy,” her spokesman, Ernesto Apreza, told the Seattle Times. But the new tax has veto-proof support on the City Council, which passed it 7-2 Monday. The next time someone says “socialism” is merely a conservative talking point, mention Seattle.

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