In early 2016, John Burbank, executive director of the non-profit Economic Opportunity Institute, wrote to Councilmember Mike O’Brien requesting a meeting to discuss “the idea of a privilege tax on the wealthy.”
Gene Balk has done it again. He noticed important information about our city—this time from tax data, analyzed by the Economic Opportunity Institute—and it shows that over 51 percent of Seattle residents earned less than $50,000 in 2014. This is not all. Those who earn the kind of money you need not to be rent-burdened, nearly $100,000, made up only 19 percent of tax filers.
For all Seattle’s newfound affluence, there are still a whole lot of folks living paycheck to paycheck. That’s no surprise, of course — but here’s some new data that bring this economic reality into sharp focus. The numbers come from a new analysis of IRS data by the Economic Opportunity Institute.
Seattle signed a nearly $50,000 consultant contract with income-tax proponent John Burbank of the progressive Economic Opportunity Institute for help developing and defending the measure, Mercier said. Burbank on Wednesday called that payment well-earned because the organization brought the city “legal, financial forecasting and policy expertise.”
Cliff experienced a real treat in having John Burbank, the executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, in the studio to discuss Trump Proof Seattle's recent victory in getting the state's FIRST Progressive Income Tax passed in 82 years.
The last time voters passed a graduated statewide income tax, it was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 1933 as unconstitutional. The state constitution requires that property be taxed at a uniform rate, which the court said applied to income in turning down the tax. The state also has tight restrictions on the authority of cities to impose such taxes. John Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, a nonprofit that pushed the Seattle tax measure, said he welcomes the legal challenge: “We live in a much different society and polity now than 80 years ago.”
"Our child-care workers are overworked, they're underpaid, they're leaving the workforce, and this is having a real detrimental effect on our child-care system as a whole, and it's really straining families to a breaking point," said Carolanne Sanders, a policy associate with the Economic Opportunity Institute.
Washington’s reliance on sales tax revenue hits the poor the hardest, proponents of the new tax measure argue. Some on the lower end of the income spectrum pay six times as much in state and local taxes in comparison to higher-wage earners. In a city of soaring rents and housing prices, the income tax will help bridge the widening gap with a “new formula for fairness,” Mayor Ed Murray said.
After months of grassroots organizing in Seattle, the push for a city income tax had hit the big time. The next day, John Burbank says, he met with Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Lisa Herbold to “sketch out how best and most expeditiously to proceed.” Which more or less led us to Monday, when the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to create a 2.25 percent tax on individual income over $250,000 and joint income of more than $500,000.
Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center, who opposes the law, and John Burbank of the Economic Opportunity Institute, who helped craft it, discuss Seattle's new income tax for high wage earners.
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