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Thursday, February 27, 2014

While We're Talking About Things to Do In Tandem With Raising Seattle's Minimum Wage...

Posted by on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 6:00 AM

A number of people (including me, last week, at around 25:00) have pointed out that it's not going to be enough to just raise the minimum wage in Seattle.

We need to raise taxes, too. So here's the tax I think we should be looking at: a Seattle income tax.

Yes, we'd need permission from the legislature to do this. But, as Mayor (and former State Senator) Ed Murray pointed out in his State of the City address:

Every year since 2000, the top 20 percent of income earners in Seattle have brought home more than the bottom 80 percent combined.

Murray used this inequality to argue for increasing the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 an hour, but it's also a strong argument for instituting an income tax here.

So: If the mayor is concerned about income inequality, and if he also shares Danny Westneat's concern about keeping social services running amid a minimum wage increase, then he should be campaigning for a minimum wage increase while at the same time lobbying Olympia to let us have an income tax. (Like, oh, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Philadelphia...)

Candidate Murray promised he'd be a great mayor because his legislative experience would help him get Olympia to do what's right for Seattle. Here's one way he could come through on that promise.


Comments (30) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
How about a Capitol Hill tax since the Stranger staff loves proposing the taxation of all Seattle to pay for things that only people on Capitol Hill want.....
Posted by Hipsters are Republican Cannon Fodder on February 27, 2014 at 6:59 AM · Report this
Aaron 2
I agree that an income tax should be part of our funding, but I hate the idea of allowing the suburbanites to skate. Did you read that the GOP has a lead in the polls, still? Damn. What the hell is wrong with this country?…
Posted by Aaron on February 27, 2014 at 7:17 AM · Report this
Lew Siffer 3
How about a tax on companies to pay their share? Oh, that's right, Inslee just bent over.
Posted by Lew Siffer on February 27, 2014 at 7:36 AM · Report this
chinaski 4
hell yes we should tax the living shit out of the median wage earners at once! Show those pigfuckers who runs this city.
Posted by chinaski on February 27, 2014 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Clara T 5
Totally down with income tax, even vat taxes on luxury items. If we do that we should cut business taxes. More money staying in businesses (not taken as profit) makes more payroll and stimulates spending of the type and at the level that distributes $ broadly. Most lefty economists agree.

So yes high wages, progressive income tax, VA tax, and no business or corporate tax. This is a pipe dream though - government can't resist dipping their (big ass) beak everywhere they see liquidity (except unfortunately when it comes to the oligarchs).
Posted by Clara T on February 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM · Report this
Lobby Olympia to let us have an income tax? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Nobody here wants an income tax. I pay enough taxes without being additionally burdened by an income tax! Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!
Posted by BallerOnABudget on February 27, 2014 at 8:30 AM · Report this
The top 20%? So it’s no longer the 1% you’re after? Like we didn’t know.

As a member of the 20%, thanks for the laugh. Good luck getting your income tax you'll need it.
Posted by Sugartit on February 27, 2014 at 8:41 AM · Report this
The Establishment 8

Please explain how cutting "business or corporate tax" would incentivize businesses to invest in their workforce.
Posted by The Establishment on February 27, 2014 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Goldy - On this one I agree with you. The City definitely needs more funding for infrastructure and services and a local income tax probably makes the most sense. It would be nice if it could be countywide though, but maybe easier to actually make happen in the city.
Posted by Meinert on February 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM · Report this
Clara T 10
#8 here's a walk through from a right of center economist - note that this pov is not alien to those on the left. A number of European countries with low gini indexes left progressives generally admire tax income heavily and businesses lightly.…

Small business taxes should be cut too, as long as a progressive income tax and a higher taxes on cashed out capital gains are in place to fill in the gap.

Posted by Clara T on February 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM · Report this
How is the city-only thing going to work? If I worked at say, Microsoft (I don't), and the "west side or east side" decision was also an "income tax or no income tax" decision, I'd live closer to work and just miss Cafe Flora a whole lot.
Posted by wxPDX on February 27, 2014 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Yeah. As long as someone else is paying the income tax, I'm all for it!!
Posted by drshort on February 27, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
huh? why do we need permission from the leg?

is there an RCW banning cities from enacting this? got cite? link?

if your concern is past court decisions you don't need permission from the leg to pass a law testing a precedential court decision. and yeah, if we do need the leg to act it's not even worth posting a post about, duh.
Posted by please clarify on February 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Porcupine 14
Portland does not have a city income tax. Multnomah county instituted a temporary income tax of 1.25% from 2003 to 2006.

Personally having to pay several thousand dollars a year for the privilege of living in Seattle could be hard to shallow. As much as I dislike the suburbs saving a good chunk of money while possibly getting better schools to boot would tempt a lot of people.
Posted by Porcupine on February 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 15
Oregon does not have a sales tax, they do have an income tax. If Seattle wants yet more taxes, some current taxes must go away FIRST. I'm all for some taxes to pay for some needed social programs. But I'm not for having every tax possible all the time. Income tax or sales tax Not both.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 16
Taxes need to be raised...but on passive income...not on the wages of working professionals who need their paychecks or on poor people besieged by an already sky high 10% sales tax.

Passive income:…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on February 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Rotten666 17
^ This
Posted by Rotten666 on February 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 18

Texas does have a sales tax and it is half of ours, but they do not have an income tax.

They do have a 2% property tax.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on February 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Rotten666 19
I meant @15. Damn these slow fingers.
Posted by Rotten666 on February 27, 2014 at 10:14 AM · Report this
@2 that is one poll. And why not a king county income tax?
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on February 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 21


If the GOP would stop woman hatin' and gay bashin' we'd get elected with an 80% majority.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on February 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Report this
MrBaker 22
Worlds collide, I agree with #16.

Passive income.
Posted by MrBaker on February 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Knat 23
@21: You are pants-on-head insane if you believe that.
Posted by Knat on February 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 24
This has worked well in NYC

And if the state shuts it down we'll just for the state of Seattle with Sealth County inside it
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
"And why not a king county income tax"

What, like I-1098, which lost in every county in Washington State including King County, by 10% points?

Oh, there's also a little problem called the Washington State constitution.

But keep chasing your windmills moochers.
Posted by The 20% are the new 1% apparently on February 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
@24 I suspect that is because the privilege of living in NYC far exceeds that of living on a particular side of the 520 bridge. I say that as a former New Yorker. Additionally the flow of people to jobs is mainly into NYC, whereas Seattle has a fair number of people commuting to Bellevue and Redmond.
Posted by wxPDX on February 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 27

I didn't see anything about European countries in that op-ed. Also:

N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard. He was an adviser to President Bush and advised Mitt Romney in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

He advised the president who oversaw the trashing of our economy? Well I'm convinced.

Given that American corporations don't pay anywhere near 35 percent of their incomes in taxes, where is the investment in the workforce?
Posted by keshmeshi on February 27, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 28
So, you increase labor by 60%, then increase taxes. All on top of the fact that Seattle has more regulations than the East Side and that many employers are on the East Side (Microsoft) and that there are better schools on the East Side, and you DON'T THINK people will move to the East Side?

I feel like the guy standing in Greece during the Olympics, telling people that things are going to get bad. Just as the Greeks a few years ago laughed at the notion that anything they were doing would have a bad effect on their economy, Seattlites also laugh, thinking nothing bad could ever happen to their economy.

I know if this happens, I won't leave the state. First I'll try to work and live in Bellevue. After the Sawant/Murray/Stranger axis turns it into a little Greece I'll be chilling in Kirkland, Bellevue or Redmond, aka New Seattle. After all, Bellevue has a Republican mayor and it will just get more fiscally conservative as more people with sense leave Seattle for the East Side.

I think the Jefferson's theme song had the right idea...
Posted by collectivism_sucks on February 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM · Report this
@23: why do you think the Slog meme is "John Bailo is the dumbest motherfucker on the planet"?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 27, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Clara T 30
@27 if it makes you feel any better to have some bonafides, highfalutin liberal economists Robert Frank and Dean Baker support cutting business taxes too. I'm not saying tax less overall, just do it smarter.
Posted by Clara T on February 27, 2014 at 10:46 PM · Report this

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