November 20, 2017
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Seattle City Council rejects business tax for homeless

A proposed $125-per-employee tax on major employers in Seattle was narrowly defeated last week, but several council members who voted against it said they would be open to considering a revised version.

By a 5-4 vote, the council said to a tax on about 5 percent of the city's employers -- about 1,100 in total -- who gross at least $10 million a year. The estimated $25 million a year in tax revenue would have paid for long-term subsidized housing and rental vouchers.

Many Seattle employers had publicly opposed the bill, including 91 business leaders who sent a letter to the council saying that this is only the latest in a long line of proposals aimed at employers but formulated without input from them.

"Your recent actions have increased the cost of running businesses, increased costs for customers, and resulted in thinner profit margins across many industries,” the letter says. “These realities and your actions threaten the viability of many long-time Seattle businesses." GeekWire has more.

The swing vote was Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who said he wasn't comfortable voting for a new tax on businesses during the rush of budget season. He and other council members said they could support an employee “head” tax, and said they would continue negotiations.

The Seattle Times has more.

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Continue Bipartisan Successes

One-party rule in Olympia should not end bipartisan effort

By Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville

The election this month of Democrat Manka Dhingra to represent the people of the 45th legislative district changes the landscape of the Washington state Senate, resulting in a return to one-party rule in Olympia.

However, it does not have to change the bipartisan way in which the Legislature has operated since a group of Democrats joined with Republicans in 2013 to govern by consensus, ushering in unprecedented achievements.

For the past five years, the bipartisan Majority Coalition Caucus controlled the Senate, while Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and governor's mansion. For measures to pass, members of both chambers had to debate, negotiate and compromise.

This process resulted in the passage of historic legislation, such as the first-ever college-tuition reduction, a $16 billion transportation package and a plan to fully fund basic education with equitable levy reform...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Legal Maneuvers

Be watchful of Seattle's income tax

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

In July, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to impose an income tax on its wealthiest citizens, knowing full well the decision would end up challenged in court.

That apparently was part of the strategy.

By spurring debate, advocates for the Seattle income tax hope to reverse historical precedent and open the door so other communities can follow Seattle's lead.

If that were to happen, it's reasonable to think the next step would be an effort to impose an income tax statewide. That's why we should be watching this issue closely.

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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