Washington Retail Association has opposed Seattle ‘s proposed business head tax in a letter to Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, chair of the City Council’s Finance and Neighborhoods Committee.
Signed by WRA President/CEO Renée Sunde, the letter urges the city to reprioritize spending and produce a specific plan to curb homelessness rather than raising a tax on business to address the issue. If approved by the council, the tax would impose an annual charge of about $500 per employee on businesses earning at least $20 million a year.
Sunde noted that city spending increases in recent years are not sustainable while urging the council to re-prioritze budgeting to address homelessness.
“This spending binge is driving the City’s budget ever closer to a deficit, despite massive revenues generated by Seattle’s building boom,” the letter states. “We applaud Mayor Durkan’s efforts to begin reigning in the City’s spending.”
Rather than impose a new tax, Sunde urged city officials to conduct a thorough review of the growing city budget to address homelessness within existing city financial resources.
The council has been planning to adopt the tax on May 14, but business opposition has been building in recent weeks. It included Seattle-based Amazon.com’s announcement of a building and hiring freeze in the city pending the outcome of a council decision on the tax. Review WRA’s entire letter here.
In addition, more than 300 Seattle businesses have signed a similar letter to the City Council in opposition to the head tax.