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State senator wants to block Seattle head tax

"(It is) bad policy, we need to stop it," said Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, (R) Ritzville.

The state’s Senate minority leader wants to block Seattle’s proposed head tax.

State Sen. Mark Schoesler, (R) Ritzville, says he is drafting legislation to specifically prohibit per-head taxes on employers in the state of Washington. It is a direct reaction to the proposal, before the Seattle City Council, to tax big businesses per person, per hour, to raise $75 million a year for housing and homeless services.

“(It is) bad policy, we need to stop it,” said Schoesler on Thursday, who has questioned whether the legislation is even legal. “It’s a very poor idea, for not just Seattle, it affects King County, and it affects the state of Washington both with revenue and with our reputation as a business-friendly or unfriendly state.”

It is another salvo in a debate which has pitted progressives against each other, and Schoesler believes it is a sign of bi-partisan support for such a bill.

“This is a bi-partisan effort, to obviously the Chamber is not a Republican front group in Seattle - and they see problems with it - I think it's something that needs to be authorized in the state.”

Council members could not be immediately reached for reaction. They have targeted May 14 for a final vote.

Schoesler's bill wouldn't be introduced until the 2019 session.