Budget and Taxes

We’re experiencing one of our city’s richest periods in history. At the same time, we’re seeing economic disparities increase and people being forced out by skyrocketing rent and home prices. Meanwhile, the city’s general fund budget has grown by 25% over the last three years, over $250 million a year.

Here’s what I would do:

  • Review the entire budget for reductions, as I did when I had to cut $67 million in my first year in office. I prioritized human services, public safety, direct services and basic maintenance. I’d take the same approach today, except now we could apply savings to our most pressing needs, like homelessness.

  • Hold the line on regressive taxes. Regular Seattle taxpayers repeatedly have had to pay the bill for our City’s growth We should look to new revenue streams, like an income tax on wealthy individuals, or new business taxes on big companies who are benefiting the most.  We should also exempt more small businesses from B&O taxes. If elected mayor, I will not increase sales taxes by the city of Seattle. Seattle property taxes would only increase with inflation, with our metric being set be the total bill on a median value home, including excess levies.

  • Identify new progressive revenue sources and test their legality.  I am committed to doing the work needed to pursue and test the implementation of the following progressive revenue ideas:

    • Income tax

    • Tax on speculators

    • Tax on vacant properties

    • Tax on wealth or capital gains

    • Municipal bank

All of these sources deserve the full weight of the mayor’s office. I believe that these are policies that are worth fighting for, and that the City could use them to replace regressive taxes or support progressive initiatives.

I’ve released a plan for Tax Fairness in Seattle, which I encourage you to read more about here.