by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Good to know there are some people in the very liberal city of Seattle who understand the detrimental impact of the jobs tax passed by the city council. Under that new law, large companies — think Amazon — will be forced to pay $275 per employee, per year, into a city fund to address homelessness. A coalition of Seattle businesses wants to gather signatures leading to a ballot item to overturn the decision. Certainly, homelessness is a problem, but taxing job creators isn’t the way to address it. And by the way, the $40 to $50 million raised each year from the tax can be spent on anything the council wants; the commitment to address homelessness is non-binding. I think we an idea of where that’s heading — expansion of government. Here’s the pushback.
“We have until June 15 to gather 17,632 good signatures to send this to the ballot in November to give Seattle a referendum on this issue and, I think even more so, on the Seattle council,” said Saul Spady, president of an advertising company and grandson of Dick Spady, founder of Dick’s Drive-In.
The referendum campaign, calling itself No Tax On Jobs, is chaired by James Maiocco, chief business development officer with Pushpay, a Redmond-based tech firm, according to a filing Friday with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC). The group had no political contributions listed as of Friday. Spady is listed as the group’s secretary.
Now the action moves to Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. San Francisco, Mountain View, Cupertino and East Palo Alto are all considering similar taxes on large local employers (read: tech companies) to offset growing inequality and overcrowding they blame on the industry that turned them into boomtowns.
Bingo. It’s about blame — and it’s misplaced. Job creators should be valued.