A group opposing the tax on Seattle big businesses to help pay for the city’s homelessness services and, hopefully, more affordable housing says it is launching a $300,000 campaign to put a referendum on the ballot to repeal the newly approved legislation.
The No Tax on Jobs campaign launched over the weekend with a website — notaxonjobs.com — and support from heavy hitters like the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Seattle Association.
“The reason we’re starting with a referendum is because we don’t have time to let the council shut down growth like this,” Saul Spady, president of Cre8ive Empowerment and part of the family that own’s Dick’s Drive-in, told Crosscut about the campaign.
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On its site, the No Tax on Jobs campaign cites polling that they say shows broad opposition to the new tax with some 54% of respondents saying they opposed it.
Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council approved the plan for a tax on its largest businesses to help pay for housing and homelessness. The legislation will implement a $275 per full-time employee tax on companies reporting $20 million or greater in annual “taxable gross receipts” starting in 2019. Mayor Jenny Durkan — who brought an eleventh hour plan forward calling for a smaller tax to help sooth concerns from large employers like Amazon — signed off on the tax following the vote but she has not signed the approved legislation’s spending plan.
The opposition group now has a month to gather 17,632 signatures, 8% of the turnout in Seattle’s last mayoral election, to get the referendum on the ballot and in front of Seattle voters.