Legislature could forcibly halt head tax
A Democratic senator said that the Washington State Legislature may step in and stop the Seattle City Council’s head tax on business if it does pass.
Fifth Legislative District Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that a head tax would prevent new jobs and new investments in Seattle, killing the possibility of economic growth.
“Our message at the state level is, we’re trying to get businesses to invest in Washington state under the premise that we’re going to be their partner, not their enemy,” Mullet said. “And if you have the largest city in your state completely undermining that message, I think it’s a real problem.”
Mullet said that like many of the people in his district, which comprises parts of communities like Issaquah, Renton, Maple Valley, Black Diamond, North Bend, and Snoqualmie, he identifies at socially liberal, but fiscally conservative.
Mullet is not just a politician, but himself a small-scale business owner; when he is not in Olympia, he’s running Zeeks Pizza and Ben and Jerry’s franchises in Issaquah and Bellevue.
“I’m selling pizza and ice cream in Issaquah — the thought that you’re only impacting Seattle businesses, you’re only impacting large businesses is insanity … If you have local policies that are having broad, negative regional impacts, that’s one reason why we have the state Legislature, to prevent that from happening” he said.
Mullet said that his entrepreneurial experience has given him economic insight that other politicians do not have.
“When people come out with these arguments that business people are rolling in all this extra money, you know that’s a bunch of crap,” he said. “So it’s easier to push back on the false arguments that come out because you know it’s not true from your own personal experience.”
Mullet suggested finding other ways to make and increase investments in affordable housing in exchange for the promise that a head tax will not be implemented.
“If you’re willing to help them solve what they say is the problem, I don’t understand how they would object to that,” Mullet said.
While Mullet hopes that the head tax will not pass on Monday, he said that if it does, the Legislature may have to step in when the session begins next January. He pointed out that it is economic growth to begin with that allows governments to be able to invest funds in affordable housing.
“I think we seriously have to look at things we can do at the state level to prevent people from taxing employment like this,” he said.