This week, Main Street Alliance small business owners spoke out in support of the proposed Seattle income tax.
Jed Fowler, President of HD Fowler Company, and Molly Moon Neitzel, owner and CEO of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, testified in a committee meeting before members of the Seattle City Council.
For these MSA members, a Seattle income tax would help support the community by taking on the housing crisis and funding education. “If my employees are struggling to find affordable housing, or the educational system is failing the next generation, then something isn’t working,” Jed said in his testimony. “I want Seattle to be a great place to live and work for all.”
Washington is one of a small handful of states that doesn’t levy an income tax, rather relying on regressive taxes, (such as sale and property tax,) that disproportionately burden low income families. As such, Washington ranks second to last in the nation in tax transparency, while neighboring Oregon ranks first, according to the Seattle Times.
The result? The lowest 20% of earners in the state pay nearly seventeen percent of their income to taxes, while the top 1% pay less than two-and-a-half percent.
“I’m committed to paying all my employees a living wage with a compensation package,” said Molly, “But with the housing crisis, that effort alone is unfortunately not enough to ensure my employees have access to a good quality of life and affordable housing here.”
The Seattle housing crisis has fallen hardest on low income families, many of whom have been pushed out of the city, or faced homelessness. With the passage of the Seattle income tax, the city will take a big first step towards modernizing the revenue stream, and leveling the playing field for working families.
The bottom line for Molly Moon Neitzel: “[We need] to be committed to solving these issues in a way that is equitable,” she testified. “I support the Seattle income tax initiative because it’s what’s best for our community, and also my business.”