Some “Great” Ideas From Seattle’s Proposed Employee Head Tax

Some “Great” Ideas From Seattle’s Proposed Employee Head Tax
2
May

A few thoughts from Jon Flora, President & CEO

It’s May. Longer days, more sun and Opening Day of Boating Season. It just doesn’t get much better in Seattle.

Our Annual Seminar is next week, on Monday, May 7. There is still time to register for what will be a great afternoon of education, networking, and CFDD Raffling. You will want to be part of the fun. See below to register.

Discussions of political issues are usually kept for early in the year when State Legislatures are in session. Typically, NACM Business Credit Services only follows lien and collection laws. This month, however, we are tracking the Seattle City Council’s move toward levying a per employee tax on companies with annual gross revenue of over $20 million. The goal is to raise $75 million per year for homeless issues and affordable housing, effectively doubling what is already being spent with arguably limited results.

NACM has taken a position against the head tax for a number of reasons. I recently attended a community meeting with two City Councilmembers. Both were in favor of the new tax, viewing it as “progressive”. I’m not entirely sure what that term means anymore but one thing is for sure: Neither of the Councilmembers understood basic business principles. For example, they did not appear to understand that many companies with $20 million in gross revenue have only modest profit margins. That profit provides for employee pay raises, 401K contributions, and health care increases. Add on an employee head tax and many of our members will have to make hard decisions that run counter to the Council’s belief that the tax is a ” common sense solution.”

A small contractor/developer noted during the meeting that Seattle’s permit process makes it nearly impossible to build affordable housing in under five years. Effectively, the City will collect $75 million, annually, but not really accomplish anything for half a decade. The Councilmembers were uncomfortable with his question but ultimately agreed that some modification to the permitting process is needed. Don’t hold your breath.

The City of Seattle has shown an insatiable appetite for bloated budgets and a lack of accountability for their use of taxpayer money. In the coming months, the new waterfront tunnel will open, complete with new tolls. Then comes additional property taxes to help pay for the renovation of the entire waterfront. Property taxes, taxes on sugary drinks and more are already in play. There is a limit to what the business community – and our members – can and should tolerate in taxation.

NACM’s request to the City Council is to be good stewards of the current tax dollars placed in their trust BEFORE asking for anymore. If you’re a Seattle resident, please contact your Councilmember with a request to vote NO on the Employee Head Tax. They vote on May 14th. Click here for more information.

I look forward to seeing you at our May 7th Annual Seminar and Meeting. Have a great month.