From taxes to police reform: Seattle council begins work on 2022 wishlist for state lawmakers

Nov 29, 2021, 9:44 AM | Updated: 11:24 am
Seattle council, police reform...
The Seattle police presence at a rally in January 2020. (File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Seattle City Council members will begin work this week on an early draft of their priorities for the state’s upcoming 2022 legislative session.

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The draft outlines a list of issues the council hopes to see state lawmakers tackle when they convene at the start of next year, ranging in subject matter from police accountability to equitable tax policies.

Speaking to police reform, the council details its support for “efforts to increase accountability and transparency in law enforcement,” calling on the state Legislature to end qualified immunity, prohibit private arbitration in instances of officer discipline, and clarify the standards for police use of force, particularly when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis.

It also asks for more “flexibility for local jurisdictions” to have trained civilian personnel respond to 911 calls for low level crimes, similar to the CAHOOTs program used in Eugene, Oregon.

With King County continuing to grapple with an uptick in gun violence, the city council’s draft asks the Legislature to again consider limiting high-capacity magazines, while allowing cities wider authority to “regulate firearms or weapons to ensure the safety of their communities in accordance with local circumstances.” A ban on high-capacity magazines has failed to pass the Legislature in each of the last two sessions.

Court battle over newly-passed capital gains tax could rewrite Washington’s tax code

Given that a graduated income tax remains illegal statewide, Seattle councilmembers are expressing their hope to decrease reliance on “flat tax sources like sale and property taxes.” It hopes to achieve that through statewide capital gains taxes, “and a progressive statewide payroll tax that does not preempt or diminish the City’s local authority.”

Prior to the passage of Seattle’s JumpStart levy, there was talk in the Legislature of passing a smaller version at the state level that would have preempted further city-level payroll taxes.

You can read Seattle City Council’s initial draft of its legislative priorities at this link.

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From taxes to police reform: Seattle council begins work on 2022 wishlist for state lawmakers