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City closes survey: Do you want a head tax in Seattle?

Union workers pack the City Council chambers on Wednesday to oppose a head tax. (Seattle Channel screengrab)

UPDATE at 11:34 a.m. Friday — A city spokesperson says they had enough data going into Friday’s meeting and the survey, which has been up for at least two weeks, was closed.

UPDATE at 4:50 p.m. Thursday — The City of Seattle closed the survey on Thursday afternoon for unknown reasons.  We will update as soon as we learn why.

Original story: If you find it inconvenient to attend a Seattle City Council committee meeting in the middle of a workday to weigh in on the city’s proposed head tax, there’s a potentially better way from the comforts of your office chair.

Check out the handy online survey here.

Now, of course, the city prefers you have stake in the game.

“The City is looking to get feedback from people who own or make financial decisions for Seattle businesses.”  All responses are anonymous.

Here is a sampling of the 26 questions:

18. Some people have proposed different levels of taxable gross receipts below which businesses would not have to pay the per employee tax. Knowing your company’s typical annual gross receipts earned in the City of Seattle, at what point would your business be subject to the tax: (Multiple choice answers)

19. The per employee tax rate could vary depending on the gross receipts exemption threshold selected by the City. We’ve listed below a number of ways this could be structured. After each, please tell us whether you favor or oppose that particular approach. (Multiple choice answers, rated)

20. The City estimates that if the exemption threshold for the tax were to be set at $20 million dollars, around 585 businesses (which is 3% of all Seattle employers) would be subject to the $500 per employee tax. Knowing this, we’d like to ask you again, do you favor or oppose this proposal? (Multiple choice answers)

21. The City of Seattle is also considering using a payroll tax as an alternative to the employee hours tax while generating a similar amount of revenue to be invested in the same purpose. This tax rate would amount to .7% of large employers’ payroll. Businesses with annual taxable gross receipts below $20 million would still be exempt from having to pay this tax. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

22. Regardless of how you may feel about the proposals listed above, which do you think is the most equitable way to raise revenue to address homelessness in Seattle? (Multiple choice answers)

23. The revenue raised from a new business tax would be used to help address the City’s chronic lack of deeply affordable housing for very low-income individuals and families and to increase the amount of services available to people without homes and the City’s most vulnerable residents. Listed below are a number of different areas in which revenues generated from a new business tax could be invested. After each, please indicate how important it is that the City invest revenues in that area. (Multiple choice answers)

24. To the best of your knowledge, what are your business’s annual profit margin? Is it… (Multiple choice answers)

25. If your company is a minority-owned or woman-owned business, is your status as a WMBE based on the owner being: (Multiple choice answers)

26. As part of the City’s consideration of this potential tax, it is interested in holding a number of follow-up conversations with business owners or executives like yourself. Would you be interested in having follow-up conversation with City staff to discuss this issue? (Yes or No)

If you answer that you’re not too concerned about homelessness, the survey is kind enough to offer some stats about the crisis and then: “having heard this, let me ask you again.”

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