Dori: Sawant’s second head tax shows no understanding of economics
As you know, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is proposing a massive second head tax.
It was two years ago when the City of Seattle proposed a $275-per-employee head tax on the city’s largest businesses that would have raised $40 million per year. Now Sawant wants to octuple that. Instead of $40 million per year, she wants over $300 million per year. This would not have a sunset clause, meaning it would be in place indefinitely.
Did she get her economics degree at a prize out of a box of Cracker Jacks? She clearly knows nothing about economics.
Look at Chicago, a city that once imposed a head tax that was tiny compared the one Sawant is proposing — about $50 per person per year. Even their far-left mayor Rahm Emanuel knew it was a bad idea and he pushed for its repeal, calling it a job killer. The reason for this is that businesses are mobile. Once you send the message that “Jeff Bezos is the enemy,” as Sawant has declared, who will be surprised when Jeff Bezos decides not to do business in enemy territory anymore? Amazon is already moving thousands of jobs from Seattle to Bellevue. The states of New York and California are seeing the same thing because of massive taxes.
Kshama Sawant does not understand this. The only way her pitch would work would be if we were in a vacuum and businesses were not allowed to move. The city already gets record tax revenue — it collects more in tax revenue than ever before in city history, per capita, adjusted for inflation. The politicians have wasted that money. We spend over $100 million on homelessness every year in this city and county, and the problem has only gotten worse. That is because the money does not go toward solving problems — it goes toward expanding government and making bureaucrats and developers richer. People know this, and it is a big reason why the first head tax failed in 2018.
Sawant wants to use this money for public housing. Guess what? We had housing projects in Seattle in the 1970s, but we tore them down because they became filled with crime and drugs; the same thing will happen again. Councilmember Sawant does not want to help or save lives with this second head tax. She does not want to get people out of the cold. She wants to expand her voting base by promising free stuff to people. If Sawant gets people free housing, they’ll be loyal to her when the next elections come around.
Taxes kill jobs and businesses will move around to avoid them. That is the reality that Sawant does not get. We put taxes on unhealthy items like alcohol and cigarettes because we want people to to buy less of these things. If you put taxes on work, the same thing will happen — people will work less and they will have fewer opportunities to work.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.