Senate leader says poll results should be ‘nail in the coffin’ for Seattle jobs tax


KING-TV survey shows landslide of opposition to controversial proposal


OLYMPIA…In a poll conducted during its Wednesday-evening broadcast, Seattle’s KING-TV asked viewers to weigh in on the controversial jobs tax proposed by the Seattle City Council. Did they side with supporters of the council’s proposal or with its biggest target –

The sentiment about the tax was clear: 87 percent of respondents sided with’s opposition to the tax and only 12 percent voted in support of the city council’s position.

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, was not surprised by the result:

“Everyone can agree that homelessness is a crisis in Seattle. But when opposition to the city council’s proposed jobs tax hits 87 percent – when so many people just say no – that ought to be the nail in the coffin. Not surprisingly, people seem to strongly disagree that taking another $75 million through a new per-job tax will make a dent in the level of homelessness, when things have only gotten worse despite the many millions the city government already spends.

“Councilmember Kshama Sawant and others say they want Amazon to pay their ‘fair share’ to support the victims of a growing economy that benefits Amazon, among many others. They forget that the economy is growing in part because of Amazon.

“The council’s misguided efforts would only undermine the economy and risk Seattle jobs being sent elsewhere. We’re seeing that possibility now with Amazon’s decision to put a hold on a multi-million dollar project while it waits to see if it will need to move thousands of jobs out of town.

“Sawant talks about ‘hostages.’ Let me be clear. Sawant is a bully. She is the one holding the jobs of the people of Washington hostage. She is wrong to do so and people need to stand up to her.

“I have drafted legislation that would prevent cities and other local jurisdictions from implementing this kind of employee-based jobs tax. Seattle and others need to realize that taxing jobs is not within their authority. It’s my intent to make sure this kind of attack is explicitly prohibited so there will be no doubts.”

Cities and other local jurisdictions do not have an inherent right to levy local taxes without the express delegation of taxing authority by either the Legislature or the Constitution. The Legislature can prohibit or restrict local governments, such as the Seattle City Council, from imposing local business taxes that are measured by the number of employees, employee hours or employee wages.

The state’s authority over local taxation includes the right to restrict local taxing authority. For example, state law currently prohibits local business taxes on the sale of motor vehicle fuel and insurance (RCW 48.14.020; 82.38.280).