Seattle Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jobs-Tax

By JASON MERCIER  | 
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May 9, 2018

I have consistently found myself saying "I've never seen anything like this" almost daily recently. Whether it's events at the national level, the total breakdown of public process during the 2018 Legislative Session, or now what is unfolding in Seattle with the jobs tax, these are truly strange times. Speaking of strange, we are about to see if the Seattle City Council decides to produce a sequel to Dr. Strangelove entitled: "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jobs-Tax."

We may already have the new Maj. "King" Kong bomb riding sequence filmed courtesy of a group founded by SEIU that is asking the state Attorney General to "Prosecute Amazon for Intimidating a Public Servant." Amazon's criminal act according to the group is announcing that tax decisions by the Seattle City Council may have an impact on what employers do in Seattle. 

Responding to this novel theory of criminal business behavior, an analyst at the Tax Foundation tweeted this morning (in-part): 

"It's often claimed, meanwhile, that taxes don't affect business decision-making. In Seattle, we're seeing pretty compelling evidence that they can -- and the response has been that this is unfair, unethical, or maybe even illegal. That tax-based decisions are 'threats.' 

But of course, Seattle has no legal right to have companies locate or expand there. Cities and states are always competing for companies (often poorly and counter-productively). A poorly-designed tax that penalizes job creation is going to, well, discourage job creation.

If I lived in Seattle, I'd be upset about the prospect of companies taking jobs elsewhere, too. Rather than suggesting that it's criminal for companies to say that tax costs enter into their decision-making, though, I'd want to consider whether taxing jobs is a good idea."

Though Amazon is getting the attention it isn't the only one asking the Seattle City Council to take a step back from its tax trigger happy ways. Consider these recent headlines: 

Should the Seattle City Council decide to embrace the jobs tax and move past the current cold war with the business community to full-fledged bomb dropping, other communities are ready to open their arms to jobs creators. This is a point Senator Fain made with this tweet highlighting South King County cities saying:

"If you don't like where Seattle is head-ed, you do have options."

This is a fact the Seattle City Council needs to learn fast. 

Additional Information
Seattle celebrates Newton's 3rd Law Day – Job tax edition