Plan supported by large community coalition, including labor, big and small business, housing and homeless advocates
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and her Council colleagues passed in a 7-2 vote the JumpStart Seattle plan, which would raise over $214 million per year in progressive revenue to respond to the immediate COVID crisis and focus on Seattle’s long-term economic revitalization and resiliency by investing in affordable housing and essential city services.
JumpStart Seattle addresses the immediate economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, and in later years supports existing city services and new affordable housing by taxing Seattle’s largest businesses on executives and employees with the highest salaries. The vast majority of Seattle businesses will not be subject to the tax because the ordinance excludes businesses with less than $7 million of annual Seattle payroll and does not place an assessment on salaries under $150,000. This carefully crafted revenue proposal is thoughtful in its requirement that only the largest companies, with the highest salaries, pay the tax and it ensures predictability for businesses if there is a regional or state payroll assessment in the future.
“Seattle residents have made it clear – now is not the time for government austerity or divisiveness. Investing in communities of color, small businesses, and community health leads to a more robust and resilient economy. We are in the midst of a health and economic crisis that even a strong economy like Seattle may not be able to recover from quickly. We have over a million people statewide who have filed for unemployment this year; countless businesses shuttered temporarily and some potentially forever; our immigrant and refugee families have been left out of federal aid, and our homeless neighbors continue to suffer in our streets in the midst of a global pandemic,” Mosqueda said. “JumpStart Seattle will do just that – jump start our recovery with a relief plan that centers workers, small businesses and our most vulnerable community members. Thank you to the large coalition of community organizations who supported this plan — investing in Seattle is investing in our economy and our future.”
The proposal will immediately address the COVID -19 crisis by investing in housing security, such as rental assistance programs and resources for non-profit affordable housing providers; our homelessness crisis, including further de-intensifying our shelters; food security through the city’s grocery voucher program; and cash assistance to small businesses. In later years, JumpStart Seattle transitions to funding the construction of and existing affordable housing, city services and economic resiliency.