MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle Mayor Durkan: Amazon tax ‘won’t help us’ through outbreak

May 6, 2020, 9:27 AM | Updated: 10:20 am

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan spoke out in a recent interview against a proposed big business tax from Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales.

Sawant: Amazon tax ‘only thing’ that can rescue Seattle economy

Speaking to Snapchat’s Peter Hamby on Good Luck America, Durkan claimed the tax wouldn’t actually pay dividends to Seattleites in the near term as the city grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

The proposal would levy a 1.3% tax on the top 2% of Seattle businesses measured by payroll. The city would then distribute a series of $500 checks to members of the population hit hardest by the virus. After the outbreak is over, the tax would then fund affordable housing and Green New Deal policies.

But because it won’t begin collecting money until 2022, the measure will require the city to borrow money from other existing programs, and then use the tax to pay that money back later on with interest.

“We won’t get any of those revenues from that tax for two years because of the way the systems that have to be set up. So it won’t help us this year,” Durkan pointed out.

Sawant pushes Amazon tax to raise $500 million for coronavirus relief

Beyond that, she has concerns about the ability to project revenue from the tax given the uncertainty presented by businesses closed during the state’s ongoing stay-at-home order.

“We don’t know yet how many businesses will be taxed because we have thousands of businesses closed, like all over the country, and we don’t know which ones would still be here so it’s almost impossible to project,” she noted.

Durkan instead advocated for other progressive taxes not just in Seattle, but at the state level. That wish list includes an income tax, a capital gains tax, and repealing the sales tax.

“I do think that the change should come statewide and that every city and every county in the state should not have to be using regressive taxes to provide basic city services,” she detailed.

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Seattle Mayor Durkan: Amazon tax ‘won’t help us’ through outbreak