Former Seattle mayor: Solution to every problem now is a new tax

Apr 17, 2017, 11:13 AM | Updated: 11:49 am
Mike McGinn...
Former Mayor Mike McGinn announces that he will run for office again on April 17. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he supports the idea of a city income tax and even urges leaders to pass this year to get the ball rolling on what will inevitably be a court battle.

RELATED: Mayor Murray responds to McGinn’s announcement

McGinn voiced his concern over the ever-growing costs of living in Seattle during his announcement for his bid for mayor on Monday and said big businesses and the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share.

He called out the current leadership for continuing to tax people out of the city, saying their “solution to every problem” is a new tax.

“If you wanted to design a system to drive out the working class and middle class, this is what it looks like,” he said.

McGinn noted that low-income residents are paying as much as 15 percent of their income to taxes. The wealthy are paying 5 percent, he said.

Standing in his yard in Greenwood, McGinn said big employers can’t simply benefit from the “diverse and creative” city, “they need to keep it that way.”

The former mayor says his first priority would be to address the homeless issue in the city. He said he wants to prioritize spending on homeless programs — cutting out what isn’t working — while housing those living on the streets.

McGinn says he also wants the city to get back to the “basics,” by focusing on safe streets, maintaining buildings, human services, and getting more police in what he called “hot spots.”

Of course, paying for new or enhanced programs will likely take more money, McGinn admits. However, he said he wouldn’t want to resort to higher sales or property taxes.

McGinn announces bid for mayor

McGinn hinted at re-running for mayor Monday morning with a cryptic tweet.

The tweet was followed up with a press release that says, “Media event follows this morning’s announcement of his candidacy for Seattle Mayor.”

McGinn served as mayor from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2013. He lost his shot at a second term when Murray defeated him in 2013 — Murray won with 52 percent of the vote.

While in office, McGinn, a former Sierra Club activist and attorney, was an advocate for alternative transit and was known for frequently riding his bicycle to city events. He opposed the Seattle tunnel, arguing that the money would be better used on light rail.

Shortly after a press conference, McGinn joined KIRO Radio’s Tom and Curley and, among other things, explained what his campaign slogan “Keep Seattle” means.

“We certainly don’t want to lose Seattle and we’re losing it now,” he responded.

Listen to the entire conversation below.

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Former Seattle mayor: Solution to every problem now is a new tax