The City of Seattle is in the midst of a political civil war following the City Council’s unanimous approval of a “head tax” on big business, with even the Seattle Times encouraging a citizen initiative to derail what it calls “the destructive, opportunity-killing” measure, arguing that “this is needed to reverse the city’s hostility to business.”
According to some critics of the tax, the only sure way to reverse this hostility is to purge the council, starting with socialist Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. Perhaps the newspaper should do an editorial pushing that idea, instead.
Where was the Seattle Times when the city adopted another business-killing tax three years ago? That was the controversial “gun violence tax” that has so far fallen hundreds of thousands of dollars short of predicted revenue and actually driven business out of the city? Precise Shooter, one of the city’s busiest firearms retail outlets, closed its doors and moved out of the city. Outdoor Emporium directs its gun-buying customers to a store in Fife, several miles away in a different county.
It took a journalist’s Public Records Act lawsuit, supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, to force the city to come clean about its revenue shortfall. Where the city had predicted a tax revenue ranging between $300,000 and $500,000, the actual first year’s take was $103,766.22. Last year, the city’s total was down around $93,000.
“The problem is not just that Seattle is taxing jobs or targeting any particular company,” the Times editorialized about the new employee head tax. “The problem is that City Hall is destroying the city’s business climate, causing damage that far outweighs any benefit of the temporary head tax.”
Seattle once attracted sportsmen from all over the map when the famous Warshal’s Sporting Goods operated on First Avenue. Other gun stores did robust business, too, during the hunting seasons.
“Every council member and Mayor Jenny Durkan sided with those who vilify employers and wrongly blame them for social problems and City Hall’s repeated failures to resolve longstanding problems,” the Times editorial lamented.
What’s the difference between that and gun prohibitionists hysterically blaming the National Rifle Association for mass shootings by madmen who were not NRA members?
Fox News analyst John Stossel notes in an opinion piece that a consulting firm “weighed in with an analysis of Seattle-area homelessness and concluded the city needed to spend $400 million a year to solve the homelessness problem.”
“I’m sure Seattle,” Stossel posited, “and many other governments, will manage to spend $400 million without solving the problem.”
In a separate news report, Fox noted, “Head taxes are extremely rare in the U.S. and the ones in place are a fraction of Seattle’s proposal. In Denver, there is a $50-per-year tax for a full-time employee, while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel scrapped the Windy City’s tax after calling it a job killer.”
The Seattle Times editorial observes, “City Hall is also jeopardizing Seattle’s chances of remaining a mecca for employers developing next-generation technologies.” But City Hall policies have turned Seattle into a mecca for drug addicts, and what some people quietly term the “professional homeless.”
Stossel’s analysis at Fox News notes in the headline, “Even liberals have their limits.” Sure, when it’s their ox that’s getting gored.
Will Seattle change its tax stance due to this failure? Share your answer in the comment section.
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Dave Workman is the Senior Editor at the Liberty Park Press.