Yes, only in Seattle would a mayor propose that many new taxes in his first term. And we would love him for it!
Only in Seattle. Only here would a mayor kick off his bid for re-election by announcing two new tax increases.
It wasn’t long ago that some rules of political gravity still applied. If you had to raise taxes, do it early, so voters forget by the time you’re on the ballot. Also, as much as you can get away with it, talk up the benefits and downplay the costs.
But Seattle Mayor Ed Murray showed with his State of the City speech just how defunct are the old rules.
“I was kind of blown away. It’s his re-election year, and he’s running on ‘I’m going to raise your taxes again. And again,’” said Eugene Wasserman of the North Seattle Industrial Association, a group of old-line maritime businesses that has tussled with the city on taxes in the past.
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Murray may already be the most taxing mayor in city history. By my count, the city has passed seven higher taxes just in the mayor’s first three years. The two he just announced — a $275 million property tax for the homeless and a 24-cents-per-can soda tax for education — would be the eighth and ninth of his first term.
The first seven were property tax hikes for parks, preschool, roads and affordable housing; a car-tab and sales-tax boost for buses; higher business taxes for police; and a tax on guns and ammunition.
Five out of these seven were blessed by the voters, often overwhelmingly. A tax for publicly financed elections also passed, but it was done by initiative, not by the city.
Wasserman, who ran a campaign arguing the nearly-billion-dollar roads levy in 2015 was too bloated (it almost tripled the previous levy), said he’s concluded that resistance is futile.
“There’s probably not one city in this country with this many tax increases in such a short time,” Wasserman said. “The…