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Head tax repeal effort reports getting more than enough signatures

Mayor Jenny Durkan. (File, Associated Press)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wouldn’t weigh in on the effort to repeal the head tax as the deadline to gather enough signatures to put the option on the November ballot nears.

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Not long before representatives from the “No Tax on Jobs” campaign announced they had well over the approximate 17,600 signatures needed to put the repeal on the ballot, Durkan told KIRO Radio it’s important people continue talking about the issues the city faces.

“I think we’ve got to look and see what happens there,” she said of the head tax repeal effort, “but the important thing we need to do is; whether or not it passes, I’ve been very focused in the last two weeks on having deeper connections, talking to businesses, talking to providers, talking to a range of people across the city to say how do we come together to solve the very real problems facing our city?

“I’m not going to weigh in, in terms of right now and whether something is going to make the ballot and what happens.”

She added, “My job as mayor is to make sure I work with everybody to improve what’s happening in the streets of Seattle and I’m going to focus on that every day regardless of what happens on the ballot initiative.”

When asked if she is worried about offending businesses, Mayor Durkan said she’s been talking with a “range of businesses and CEOs.”

“… and I think that people are ready to start talking more proactively about what do we need to do as a city to make us a better city and how do we make sure that business contributes to that, as well as everybody else. So, I’m really focused on the positive and not the negative.”

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The deadline for signatures gatherers is June 14. The “No Tax on Jobs” campaign says they will drop off more than 20,000 signatures by June 12.

If there are enough verified signatures, voters will have the option in November to reverse the head tax targeting the top 3 percent of the city’s businesses. If the effort fails, companies earning $20 million or more per year can expect to pay about $275 per employee in taxes.

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