July 13, 2020

City of Seattle Rejects Austerity and Passes Progressive Payroll Tax

The tax championed by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Herbold, Strauss, Gonzalez and Lewis, introduces a tax that, when scaled, protects our lowest-income communities and Black, Indigenous and people of color from shouldering the burden of Washington’s unfair tax structure. Washington state has the most regressive tax system in the U.S., where working families pay up to seven times more in taxes than the wealthiest in our state

The JumpStart Seattle payroll tax creates a three-tiered tax-rate for large companies with payrolls over $7 million a year paying high salaries of $150,000 or more per year. The breakdown is as follows:

Compensation Payroll Between
$7 million and $99.9 million
Payroll Between
$100 million and $999.9 million
Payroll Greater than $1 billion
$150,000 - $399,999 0.7% 0.7% 1.4%
Above $400,000 1.4% 1.9% 2.4%

The payroll tax is expected to sunset in 20 years or until a comparable regional or state tax is implemented and will exempt non-profit hospitals for three years to assist with the Covid-19 response.

Enterprise recognizes that our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the housing and homelessness crisis will dictate the path to our recovery for years to come. We support a budget and economic plan that continues to increase funding for housing and homelessness programs utilizing progressive revenue tools and strategies to equitably distribute existing resources that lessen income inequality and racial wealth and health gaps. Our plan for an equitable and inclusive recovery calls for:

  1. Enacting progressive revenue
  2. Equitable allocation of resources
  3. Divest/invest strategies

We applaud the City of Seattle for taking this first and important step to pass JumpStart Seattle. We will continue to advocate for additional progress in our state and local Covid-19 and housing and homelessness responses.

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