Schoesler introduces bill banning Seattle-style ‘jobs tax’ proposal statewide

As he promised last year, Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler has introduced a bill that would impose a statewide ban on future jobs-tax legislation similar to the so-called “head tax” that was approved, then repealed, by the Seattle City Council in mid-2018.

Schoesler’s proposal, Senate Bill 5589, would prohibit local taxes based on employee wages, employee hours or the number of employment positions.

“Let’s remember that although the Seattle jobs tax was repealed within a month of becoming law, that wasn’t due to concerns about the tax’s illegality, or a realization that it was the wrong way to address the city’s lack of affordable housing. The council reversed course after it became clear voters would likely reject it through a referendum,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

“This bill is needed because if Seattle erroneously thought it had the authority to impose a jobs tax, another city might try to go that route too. That would have a negative effect on working families and that community’s economy because it tells employers that their business is not appreciated.

“My bill will make it clear that any future taxing of jobs will be illegal,” added Schoesler. “It’s wrong for any city in Washington to undermine the jobs that working families depend on simply because of political ideology and a thirst for more revenue. And if cities want the Legislature’s help addressing the lack of affordable housing, they should support the package of Senate Republican legislation that gets at the fundamental question of supply and demand.”

The bipartisan bill has been sent to the Senate Local Government Committee for consideration.