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Teresa Mosqueda, big business tax
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Seattle Councilmember Mosqueda proposes competing big business tax

Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. (Seattle City Council)

Seattle City Council now has a second big business tax to consider, after Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda unveiled a new proposal on Tuesday.

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The proposal — first reported by Crosscut — would raise over $200 million a year by levying a tax on corporations with payrolls over $7 million. Qualifying businesses would be taxed 0.7% for every employee making over $150,000, and 1.4% for employees making over $500,000.

Those rates would increase to 1.4% and 2.1% respectively for businesses with payrolls over $1 billion.

Mosqueda’s proposal would borrow from the city’s emergency and general funds in the near term, and then pay that back when the tax begins to collect money in 2022.

In the short term, it would direct spending toward addressing an estimated $550 million budget shortfall brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, as well as a series of relief programs.

After that, money from the measure would go back into affordable housing, “equitable development,” and supporting local businesses. It’s estimated that roughly 97% of businesses in Seattle would be exempted from the tax — including grocery stores and government entities — although the exact number of affected companies has yet to be specified.

Mosqueda touts a “broad coalition” composed of hundreds of local businesses and organizations she consulted while crafting her proposal.

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“Organizations and individuals across Seattle have all underscored the same points: Our community is hurting. Our economy is tanking. We cannot wait for the state or feds. We have to act now to help Seattle,” she said Tuesday.

Mosqueda’s proposal operates as a competing measure to one from Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales, whose own proposed big business tax would raise upwards of $500 million a year.

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