Payroll tax on Seattle’s biggest earners funds $97 million in affordable housing

Jul 25, 2022, 1:22 PM


El Centro de la Raza (Credit Comcast via Flickr Creative Commons)

(Credit Comcast via Flickr Creative Commons)

The City of Seattle will spend $97 million in funds created through its payroll tax on high-income earners on 1,769 units of affordable housing.

Labeled JumpStart, the tax applies to Seattle companies with payrolls above $7 million. Qualifying companies are taxed .7% for every employee making an annual salary above $150,000 and 1.4% above $500,000. The law has been in effect since 2020 and is projected to raise $277 million in 2022.

Seattle Chamber halts fight against city’s big business tax

62% of those funds will be dedicated towards affordable housing, with other sums allocated for small business development and retention (15%), green new deal investments (9%), and the city council’s equitable development initiative (9%).

Last week, the city council announced 17 recipients of funds for affordable housing development, including the Filipino Community of Seattle, El Centro de la Raza, Chief Seattle Club, Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), the Low Income Housing Institute, and New Hope Community Development, among others.

“By creating a sustainable, ongoing revenue source, JumpStart will enable us to continue building out the affordable housing pipeline our community so desperately needs,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, JumpStart’s sponsor, wrote in a statement.

“These projects are more than just units —they’re investments into health, stability, opportunity, and community, and they will have a positive impact in our community for generations to come. This is a win for progressive revenue, and it’s a win for our community.”

‘Our city budget would have been in the red’: Mosqueda touts early returns from JumpStart tax

All told, the funding will create or refurbish 1,769 units of affordable housing. A majority of the organizations listed as recipients serve the homeless community.

“The Office of Housing is making more investments in affordable housing than ever before, thanks to JumpStart Seattle supplementing our longstanding Seattle Housing Levy and other local funds,” Maiko Winkler-Chin, director of the Office of Housing, wrote in a statement.

“At the same time, we know the need for affordable housing in Seattle is greater than ever. Every dollar counts, and we will continue to do everything we can with the resources available to keep increasing our city’s supply of affordable rental and for-sale housing.”

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Payroll tax on Seattle’s biggest earners funds $97 million in affordable housing