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Seattle City Council has ‘deep concerns’ with possible ban on big business taxes

Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. (Matt Pitman)

Seattle City Council will soon send a letter to the state Legislature, voicing its opposition to the possibility of a ban on all future big business taxes across Washington.

Sawant: Amazon support of state head tax is ‘bottom line political calculus’

The conversation comes as part of a larger proposal moving through Olympia, that would levy a modest tax against businesses in King County with employees who make over $150,000. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks have come out in support of the measure, although that support could very well be conditional.

Some theorize that condition would be a preemption making it so no future taxes could be levied against big businesses by any city in Washington state. Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant spoke out against that proposal on Friday, a sentiment that appears to be shared by most — if not all — of her fellow councilmembers.

“There is common ground among us all here,” said District 4 Councilmember Alex Pedersen during a Monday morning meeting. “Preemption would take away options and tools for the city.”

Making that stance official will be a letter drafted by pro-tempore Council President Teresa Mosqueda. It was first distributed to her council colleagues last Thursday, and is expected to be signed by each of them. It will soon be forwarded to state lawmakers in Olympia.

“The city of Seattle has deep concerns with a preemption,” Mosqueda said Monday. “Much like state legislative members, we here in the city have also been elected to serve our constituents, and in order to do so, we need every tool in our toolkit.”

State lawmakers bring Seattle head tax battle to Olympia

As of publishing, preemption has not yet been written into the legislation. That said, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Nicole Macri has intimated to Seattle City Council “that any and all provisions of this legislation are up for conversation.”

Councilmember Sawant will be presenting an official resolution opposing preemption Monday, as well as holding a rally at City Hall “denouncing big business’ push to create their permanent tax shelter.” The rally will take place between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., where people are encouraged to speak out against preemption during the public comment period at Monday’s council meeting.

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