‘No Tax on Jobs’ campaign seeks to overturn Seattle big business tax

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.

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17 thoughts on “‘No Tax on Jobs’ campaign seeks to overturn Seattle big business tax

  1. Repeal with no alternative plan, or even a craving for discussion on a new plan? Sounds like some smart people here.

    I keep hearing the anti-tax side saying we need less dollars and more accountability. Let’s see what happens when you pull dollars from the already in-place cleanup programs and homeless support. Maybe that’ll jump start the appetite for change.

    • How would a repeal of the head tax take money away from already in-place clean up programs? Also, why should those seeking to repeal the head tax propose an alternate plan? Should the City Council have proposed an actual plan before promoting and passing a new tax?

      • — “How would a repeal of the head tax take money away from already in-place clean up programs? ”

        The same groups against the head tax are against the current spending models for Seattle’s homelessness programs.

        — “Also, why should those seeking to repeal the head tax propose an alternate plan?”

        I’m not saying these groups need to fund consultants and figure a per FTE dollar calculation and narrative. The point is that this problem will exist, and for you to stand in the way of potential solutions means you have to at minimum be open to discuss alternatives routes that get to the solution. Hearing the word tax and screaming back no instinctively isn’t a mature option.

        –“Should the City Council have proposed an actual plan before promoting and passing a new tax?”

        No tax law in the US that I know of has ever been passed without first providing a use of funds. It’s one of the most basic procedures that’s done, and it’s embarrassing/ignorant that you think it wasn’t done for this program. The council did publically release how the funds would be used.

    • A repeal of the head tax is not a repeal of current spending models for Seattle’s homelessness programs. To suggest it is a repeal is speculative at best.

      What is a mature option? Council did not bother to try and work with the business community, it simply railed against it. Mature?

      The council provided an overly vague summary of how the funds might be used, not a plan. Council also declined to inform the public that it overspent its homelessness budget and now needs money to cover previous spending. Why listen to the budget director.


      Embarrassing? Ignorant? Speaking of maturity . . .

  2. It’s convenient for the City Council to target Amazon as the Evil Empire on homelessness. But their plan to extort money from the business community is a little tougher sell when people realize that this will also impact our local icons like Uwajimaya and Dicks. Hopefully we will get to vote on this tax. How about our “leaders” figure out how to use the nearly $200 million a year we already invest in helping the homeless before they put in a tax that will raise the price of food? They have demonstrated no accountability.

  3. Blah blah. Where is the No Tax on Airbnb lobby when you them ? Oh, it’s ok to tax homeowners who are struggling to get by at 15% per night on gross income.

  4. I am so happy to see this group come forward and take this task on. We have a city council that is Tone-deaf and suffers from Tunnel-vision. I think they will be surprised by the citizens positive response to this initiative.

  5. Considering that the city is not fully accounting for the current spending. And outside experts continue to fault the city for having an inept response it’s inappropriate that they expect to pass a job killing head tax without repurcussions from angry businesses and voters. The council has lost touch with reality and seems to only represent the activist groups that make the most noise, and cause the most trouble. Let the voters decide!

  6. All I know is that if ‘never met a tax we didn’t like’ Chicago can repeal their head tax, it must be a bad idea…But then again, our council is more enamored with the Venezuela model of government and economy.

  7. If you’d like to sign, I found this address on the Web site:

    Seattle library
    425 Harvard Ave E
    Seattle, WA 98102

    Visit the Web site notaxonjobs.com for other locations.

  8. Alternate locations. Sign at the following libraries between 9am and 7pm

    Seattle central
    1000 4th Ave
    Seattle, WA 98104

    Seattle library
    425 Harvard Ave E
    Seattle, WA 98102

    2300 E Yesler Way
    Seattle, WA 98122

    South Park Branch
    8604 8th Ave S
    Seattle, WA 98108

    University Branch
    5009 Roosevelt Way NE
    Seattle, WA 98105

    West Seattle Branch
    2306 42nd Ave SW
    Seattle, WA 98116

    Visit notaxonjobs.com for further info.