Seattle council considers 'Millionaires Tax'

We've heard about it in other states, now Seattle City Council is floating the idea of a special tax on the city's wealthiest residents. Linda Brill reports.

SEATTLE -- It's a notion that might shake up boardrooms and penthouses in Seattle: a special tax on the city's most wealthy residents.

The idea of a "Millionaires Tax" is floating around City Hall, with three council members on board.

"There's going to be some shell shock. Oh, you think we could actually do something like this? And, that's what we have to overcome." said Council Member Nick Licata.

It would be an excise tax on Seattle residents earning a million or more dollars a year. That money would go into the city's general fund to pay for social services or transportation.

"There are discussions going forward with our law department to see what's possible," said Licata.

State voters have rejected a state income tax, but some say progressive Seattle has a regressive tax system.

"When the poorest people in the community pay more of their income in taxes than the most wealthy, there's something wrong." said Council Member Tom Rasmussen.

Socialist Council Member, Kshama Sawant added, "The vast majority of Americans in poll after poll say the rich should be taxed."

Seattle entrepreneur and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who does not live in Seattle, says he can't support a tax "that I myself would not pay." But he does favor a state income tax.

"I do continue to believe that a modest high earners income tax is an indispensable part of maximizing the fairness, growth and prosperity of our state," he said.

So far, three Seattle City Council members support the "Millionaires Tax." Five council members are needed for passage.


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