Worth noting that the high-earners income tax proposal also continued another piece: it slashed sales taxes by half, and also slashed property taxes. By voting against the high-earners income tax, the people denied what would have been the biggest, by far, tax reduction in Washington history. This is rarely mentioned.


Why does the "continue reading" button now take me to a separate window?
Please make it stop.



The same surveys that say Washington has the most regressive tax code also say Oregon has on of if not the most progressive. And Oregon’s homeless population per capita is 20% higher than Washington’s.



I'll never understand why the people at the top of our national pyramid scheme have nothing but loathing and hatred for the society that made them rich in the first place.

It's a good reminder that the only two forces in this country that are real are the insatiable greed of the 1% and the psychopathic racism that they exploit to stay in power.


Still need to see who owns/ operates as an llc and files taxes personally.

Do you guys think taxes will actually go down if an income or head tax is enacted, or is that just more noise you make?


"And Oregon’s homeless population per capita is 20% higher than Washington’s."

I can find no cite to substantiate this claim.

The rate of joblessness in Washington, according to the 2017 federal Point-in-Time count, was 11.2 per 10,000 residents. The rate in Oregon is 10.9 per 10,000 residents. Which is a LOWER per capita rate.


What a fucking embarrassment, Eli. Bezos could have contributed $100b to a "yes to an income tax" and we still wouldn't have one. Laying any blame at his feet is just pettiness.


@7. That’s homeless families not persons.



More bullshit. If the rich would just stop fighting tooth-and-claw to keep every penny they earn off the labor of others, and willingly invest even a small fraction of it back into the social system that made them rich in the first place, we wouldn't have to keep looking for ways to squeeze them for a few shekels every time we need to fix a problem their unmitigated greed and covetousness creates. They'd still continue to be wealthy beyond the wet-dreams of Midas and the rest of us would suffer just a little less as a result. They'd be hailed as fucking heroes instead of being pilloried by everyone except the equally avaricious sycophants who fantasize about someday being as rich as their masters.


@9 But I'm still unclear on the point.

Is the implication that regressive taxation is the cure for homelessness? Then we wouldn't have the high rates we do. Nevada doesn't have an income tax. And they're a Red red state. But they have very high rates of homelessness ( 290 per 100,000 ).

The fact is everything from high growth, inflated cost of living and property values ALL will contribute to homeless populations growth. There is no doubt that homelessness surges when rents go up. Most homeless people are locally generated.

The odd thing is according to that report over all homelessness in general has declined nationally since 2007. Including in Washington state.


This is absolutely delicious. The stranger writers have now been flailing their arms all day about this subject and every piece shows just how out of touch it is with the general population of Seattle. they also know that their block on the city council is in serious trouble over this
But not a single memeber of this out of touch group between the SCC and their propogandist here at slog can stop for a second to reclalibrate these propsoals. It's going to be more hilarious when no one is at sawants rally against Amazon on Saturday.


Other than the fact that the fucking state constitution prevents an income tax. Good lord, Bezos is not the cause of all of Seattle’s problems. It’s amazing the simplistic thinking going on with the far left.


Why keep bringing up a Seattle income tax when it is clearly unconstitutional, as if it is Jezz Bezo's fault. Seattle City Council, do your job. Write legislation that withstands judicial scrutiny and solves problems. The Council is controlled by members who govern by ideology and are beholden to the activists that support them (like the Stranger). A successful Seattle City Council would concentrate on making good policy not legislating groundbreaking one of a kind ordinances. Plus there is no leadership on the council, a herd of cats. They are failing, had enough yet?


a tax forced upon businesses to pay for even more services for service resistant "campers" is just a stupid idea.

whenever people suggest widening I-5, the genius urbanists say, "well now you can't build your way out of traffic" - how is this "homeless crisis" any different? the city has thrown millions and millions of dollars at this and things are worse than ever with the homeless here.

the unanswered questions are what to do with service resistant "campers" that want to do drugs and camp, steal, crap wherever, etc.

i haven't heard one official explain what we are supposed to do with them. just put up with it and shrug our shoulders and keep forking over more money to the "non profits" like lovely LIHI and sharon lee and her $200k salary?


Basically, all states fund themselves through three potential taxing methods- sales, property, or income taxes. Some states use all three, many (most?) use two out of the three.
So constantly people complain of their state's unfairly high tax rates that residents of other states don't suffer but almost always it is apples and oranges.
Yes, ideally in this state we should utilize all three collection methods simply because it disperses the burden and minimizes economic inefficiencies at the borders with states with different tax regimes (ie Ore, Id, BC).
I have no doubt that eventually a well-crafted proposal will be put before the voters that will be approved, the logic is irresistible.


Washington State has a very regressive B&O Tax... The state B&O tax is a GROSS receipts tax. It is measured on the value of products, gross proceeds of sale, or gross income of the business.
Washington, unlike many other states, does not have an income tax. Washington’s B&O tax is calculated on the gross income from activities. This means there are no deductions from the B&O tax for labor, materials, taxes, or other costs of doing business.

Pick, one or the other, as B&O makes doing any business in Washington an expensive proposition..


Don't waste your time, Bezos will say anything to perpetuate the most regressive tax system in the nation. The wealthy just don't want to pay any significant taxes despite their claims that it is this or that specific tax they object to.


Thanks, Eli. Keep writing about structural tax inequity when you talk about this issue. But again, you don't need to increase property taxes on residential units. You can pass a gross receipts tax on commercial property landlords. This shouldn't need saying as often as I have had to say it.

@3 That's not a counterpoint. Oregon's tax system can be progressive and still not raise enough revenue for their needs. If you have to tax, it should be in a progressive way.

@11 If you can see the connection between rents rising and increased homelessness, sure you can see the connection between homelessness and your appalling 10.1% local sales tax. If some people are just $100 dollars away from being out on the streets, an income tax and subsequent reduction of your sales tax could save them.

Also, Nevada has a terribly regressive tax system too. They're a horrible example of "how not having an income tax works." But they have something Washington doesn't have (but Florida does) and that's a fuck ton of hotel tax revenue. You don't have that so you need to fix your state tax system more urgently than they do.

@14 And your attitude is holding your state back.

@15 You fauxgressive fucks know you can amend a constitution right? Why aren't you shutting Olympia down?

@18 Thanks for the article. See? You already have a classification mechanism and the tax structure to do this tax the right way!!! YAY! Pass this as a gross receipts tax on the companies that rent commercial real estate. As noted: they can't move their assets. Their customers have considerable negotiating power. And what you hate about the B&O tax (it's porous and taxes even companies losing money) don't apply to an easy classification like "did this revenue come from renting to a for-profit business that's not non-formula retail?" for companies that never operate at a loss. Done.


@20 "I have got mine, fuck you"


@23 Fairly sure your reading comprehension skills need work.



I earned mine. Go do the same. Fixed that for you.


As a tech CEO, I declined to sign the open letter. I do take issue with the head tax from business leaders released days ago. I replied, when requested, that the issues at hand are more complicated than analogy that the head tax is like “putting a kid that does the most homework into detention.” (Paraphrased) This article helped me see another (non-surprising) perspective on the issue through past missed opportunities. How many of the 130 or so business leaders who signed the open letter would also oppose an income tax? How many of them want to reverse our regressive tax system? How many want to lower the threat of displacing Seattle’s long term residents? I am concerned that some of my fellow tech business leaders are more interested in lowering the cost of living just enough to attract more tech workers and control their labor costs. We have diverse views and one letter does not represent all of us. Your call to action is a good idea. Let’s identify who has genuine interest in our social contract. (Note: I remain concerned with that we need a clearer and accountable plan for any tax plan.)


Correction: As a tech CEO, I declined to sign the open letter from business leaders released days ago. I do take issue with the head tax.



Yeah, sure - a 1%er who has nothing more productive to do than anonymously troll an online blog comment page.

Let me guess: you sell bridges, swamp land, and consolidated debt obligations.


As a student of history, it is fascinating to see this battle playing out. It's happened before, it will happen again. (BSG reference) Collectivists and Individualists at each other's throats, one calling the other greedy, one calling the other lazy. Humans are violent creatures. It's been a long time between major conflagrations. WW2 cost the lives of around 60 million people; weaponry has only gotten more destructive. Lot's of fear to go around, on all sides, driving us to conflict.


I wonder if any state with an income tax only taxes the 1%, or like Federal taxes, starts at a much lower income and is progressive with higher income. As one of those who would be asked to pay, it galls me that we have divided our population into those evil rich who are asked to pay for everything, while the middle-class earners, who can easily afford to pay their share at a lower percent perhaps, wag their fingers and invoke the responsibility of a small number to carry the entire burden.

Similarly the head-tax proposal neglects the reality that a smaller business employs people and that many are highly profitable on a per employee basis and can just as easily pay a head-tax as a larger business, sharing the burden. But no, our leaders want to divide and be divisive. It is easy to tax one's neighbor, but to be just and fair, the right thing is to tax oneself as well.

My comments aside, I believe that our city has not earned the right to invoke any additional taxes given the major fail of spending to date, massive bureaucratic bloat, excessive city salaries, pension and head-count - and an obvious correlation between spending on the homeless and an increase in the problem, whether or not it is part of the cause (along with the culture of tolerance, acceptance, entitlement and welcome that prevails).

So all of you who work for a living, either agree to pay your share of head-taxes and income taxes or STFU!


It galls me that people think expecting the rich to pay their fair share is considered demonizing them. There's no dispute over who pays a vastly larger percentage of their income to taxes, before even factoring in corporate welfare.



I agree. Zero dispute. Close to 50% pay no taxes, at the bottom. The top 20% pay 80% of all taxes collected. In Washington sales tax with exemptions for food and so on mean the poor effecruveky pay no state taxes. They pay 8% for FICA but get all their contributions back in retirement so that doesn't count.

This is all of course before factoring in direct cash payments like EITC, housing and food subsidies, medical assistance, educating the children of non tax payers, building roads and police services and fire departments. I would"t have called that corporate welfare but..

It's crystal clear that half out citizens arwn't being fairly taxed. But what are you gonna do? Np money to collect so no sense in taxing them.

See? The far left and reasonable centrists can agree on things.


@33 I did a little research and was actually a bit surprised. According to 2014 stats, the richest 1% pay an income tax rate of ~25% while middle class pay ~20%. However, wealthy Americans earn hundreds of times more than the average worker and investment income is taxed at a lower rate.



And the perpetual, knee-jerk Washingtonian whining, moaning, complaining, and blaming the poor about taxes would have risen to a fever pitch, and we would have have seen double digit numbers of ballot initiatives to repeal the income tax, one of which surely would have passed by now.


Check out video at

Yes, we ought to spend less time obsessing about Trump's tweets and ask "Qi Bono?" (who benefits?) And then we'd start paying for more attention to the local billionaire class.

When one digs into who funded the defeat of I-1098, parse the numbers Medina reveals itself as the greediest city in Washington, desperately pouring funds to defeat I-1098, led of course by its biggest donor Steve Balmer at $450k. Then Mercer Island with it's biggest donor Paul Allen $100k. And yes, a smattering of other wealthy enclaves where Runstads gave $100k, as did Bezos ($100k).

The head tax is another front in the fight for tax justice. The recent brutal property tax increase is causing a lot of pain - and provides and organizing opportunity to shift the public on the need to lift Washington State out of its shameful prank as having the most regressive tax system in the country. Hopefully the Council will stand strong, and then Durkin will veto the head tax - but then we need to be able to escalate the fight.

I propose we bring it to the wealthiest neighborhoods and allow the owers to confront the owners. The Poor People's Campaign launched today. Poor or middle class, we are all on the same trajectory, i.e. downward - living lives dominated by financial anxiety.

When we fight, we Win!

Forward Together!

Bill Moyer
Backbone Campaign

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