Many states have an east versus west or urban versus rural divide on policy issues. In Washington state, it’s more like Seattle versus the entire 71,000 square miles of the rest of the state, and nowhere is this difference more pronounced than in the tax policy arena.
The tax proposals coming out of Seattle, Washington may discourage future business location, says the Tax Foundation, while noting that one of its plusses is not having an income tax.
In 2017, tax proposals coming out of the Seattle city council and from mayoral candidates include the following:
* A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages at a rate of 1.75 cents per gallon, or $1.18 per two-liter bottle (passed June 5, 2017)
* A city income tax that is almost certainly illegal (passed July 10, 2017, but still facing a court challenge)
* A short-term rental “Airbnb” tax of $10 per night
* A 8 cent-per-employee-hour-worked tax on the high-grossing businesses in the city (about $100 per employee per year)
* A 5 percent hike in the city’s parking tax, from 12.5 percent to 17.5 percent
* A tax on foreign buyers of Seattle homes (advanced by mayoral candidate Cary Moon)
* A “luxury real estate tax” on transfers of homes over $1 million (also a Moon proposal)
Seattle is the home of Amazon. The deluge of city proposals may or may not be impacting the company’s desire to expand in some other city. The Tax Foundation said they might be better off in some other state —or maybe just across the lake in Bellevue.