Washington GOP leaders want to ban Seattle-style 'head tax' statewide

SEATTLE -- Two state senators are pushing legislation that would make per-head taxes on employers illegal in the state of Washington, despite the Seattle City Council's unprecedented flip and repeal of the head tax on Tuesday.

“I’m glad most members of the Seattle City Council had a flash of common sense and repealed their tax on jobs so soon after forcing it through. But it appears they only bowed to the reality of an expensive political battle, not that they realized they’d made a critical mistake," State Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville said.

The state’s Senate minority leader added: “My bill will make it clear that any future taxing of jobs will be illegal. It’s wrong for Seattle, or any other city in Washington, to undermine the jobs working families depend on simply because of political ideology."

State Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place supports a head tax ban and took it a step forward adding he wants to introduce a $275 tax credit to employers creating new jobs in counties with the highest unemployment.

" Let me be very clear. The ‘head tax’ was literally a tax on jobs since it levied a tax on each job provided by the affected employers," O’Ban said. “My ‘head tax credit’ is designed to reward, rather than punish, employers for family-wage job growth. The biggest contributor to homelessness is job loss. The first step in addressing homelessness should be to maximize job growth across the state. Jobs give dignity to men and women. Jobs change lives."

Counties proposed in O'Ban's tax credit include Clallam, Cowlitz, Ferry, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Skamania, Wahkiakum and Yakima.

The two state senators said they would introduce their legislation in January 2019.