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Despite head tax repeal, Sens. Schoesler and O’Ban to continue moving forward with new tax legislation

Despite the Seattle City Council’s 7-2 vote on Tuesday to repeal the city’s head tax, Senators Mark Schoesler and Steve O’Ban say they will continue moving forward with separate bills they previously proposed in response to the tax.

Prior to the city council’s vote on the tax in May, Sen. Schoesler proposed a bill that would ban cities and towns from imposing employee hours taxes, or “head taxes.” He also wrote an op-ed arguing that the city council did not have the authority to impose this kind of tax in the first place, but that his legislation would remove all doubt about local government’s authority on these kinds of policies.

Following the city council’s vote to repeal, Sen. Schoesler said,

“I’m glad most members of the Seattle City Council had a flash of common sense and repealed their tax on jobs so soon after forcing it through. But it appears they only bowed to the reality of an expensive political battle, not that they realized they’d made a critical mistake…

“My bill will make it clear that any future taxing of jobs will be illegal. It’s wrong for Seattle, or any other city in Washington, to undermine the jobs working families depend on simply because of political ideology.

Schoesler also stated that three Democratic Senators and one Democratic Representative have said they will support the bill if it came to a vote.

“Three Democrat senators and a Democrat state representative have said they’ll support my bill if allowed to vote on it. The support of only one more House Democrat should give us a constitutional majority to protect Washington’s jobs. Whatever the motivation of the council, I hope its repeal of the ‘head tax’ inspires another Democrat lawmaker to be that final vote.”

Senator O’Ban also previously announced new legislation in response to the head tax. At the end of May, he proposed creating a “head tax credit” for employers who create jobs in Washington counties with high unemployment rates. The proposal would offer a $275 tax credit per qualifying job created in these counties.

In response to the head tax repeal, Senator O’Ban stated,

“Even though the people won on this, it won’t be long before the Seattle City Council launches another attack on employers. Those companies need to know that business-friendly rural areas welcome them and need their jobs. And, since Seattle’s over-taxation is making it too expensive for the working class to live there, families would benefit from relocating to areas that have low housing costs, a low cost of living, uncongested roads and safer neighborhoods.

“My ‘head tax credit’ is designed to reward, rather than punish, employers for family-wage job growth. The biggest contributor to homelessness is job loss. The first step in addressing homelessness should be to maximize job growth across the state. Jobs give dignity to men and women. Jobs change lives.”