Rantz: As economy crashes, soulless Socialist CMs push crippling Seattle business tax
As the local economy suffers a potentially cataclysmic meltdown thanks to the coronavirus, socialist Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales introduced a crippling Seattle business tax.
While positioned as another “Amazon tax,” it goes much further, including taxing senior living facilities.
The kicker? The Seattle business tax would not be subject to a public referendum. The two socialists exploited a public health emergency decree to push the tax. And it wouldn’t even be used primarily for coronavirus-related issues. In fact, the tax would last forever.
Seattle business tax an utter scam
“We’re in a pandemic. Tax Amazon now,” declares Sawant and Morales, implying the money would be specific to the coronavirus crisis. That’s a brazen lie.
Sawant and Morales aren’t hiding their political strategy of exploiting the coronavirus crisis. Their goal is clear: To install a permanent payroll tax against “big business” without giving the voters the right to overturn it.
The new “Amazon tax” pushes a 1.3% payroll tax on most companies with over $7 million in annual payroll, hitting hundreds of local businesses like nursing homes and restaurant groups.
As Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat notes, “a business paying the per capita Seattle salary of $56,000 would pay the tax if it had 125 or more employees.” He mentions Tom Douglas’ restaurant group, which recently shuttered its restaurants with the owner/restaurateur declaring, “We are broke.”
The majority of the $500 million a year they think they’d steal from business would not go to coronavirus response in the first year. And when the coronavirus crisis has been handled, the tax stays in place.
The fine print
The tax is written in a way to assure voters can never get rid of it. As first reported on SCC Insight, the text of the tax calls it “necessary for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.”
This language is important. Under the charter, SCC Insight notes, the public cannot vote to overturn “ordinances necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety.” Read the full text breakdown by SCC Insight here.
By tying the tax to the emergency declaration by Mayor Jenny Durkan, the tax is immune from a referendum — even after the emergency declaration is over. This was intentional and deceitful. Sawant and Morales know the tax is unpopular. Indeed, the Amazon head tax was so unpopular, facing an inevitable defeat in a referendum, the Seattle City Council repealed the tax before it went into effect in 2018.
Sawant and Morales know the voters wouldn’t support their tax, so they’re scheming to tie it to an emergency on the backs of dead Seattleites. It’s a soulless political move.
Horrible idea, disgusting pitch
We can obviously have a debate over the merits of a payroll tax like this. Last year, we pretty much already had the debate. But to dishonestly introduce a tax as so many Seattle businesses are barely scraping by is particularly despicable.
To think businesses can suddenly afford this tax right now shows you either how little Sawant and Morales understand about business or how soulless they truly are, hoping to destroy businesses to forward their Socialist agenda. Honestly, it’s probably indicative of both their ignorance and heartlessness.
But what’s most disgusting is how they’re doing it. Sawant and Morales will have you believe they care about people impacted by the coronavirus. They don’t. They’re preying on coronavirus-related fear in the name of their cult of socialism. They don’t care who they hurt or which businesses they destroy in the process. By their very nature, they aim to destroy so they can help rebuild a city and economic system in their vision.
We know where Sawant and Morales stand — they wear their socialism on their sleeves. The question is whether or not the rest of the City Council will help them destroy businesses or if they’ll grow a spine and push back.