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Councilmember Burgess’ Statement on Committee Approval of a City Income Tax on High-Income Residents

Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide), chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, issued the following statement following Committee approval of a city income tax on high-income residents:

“This is a step toward a fairer tax system. We will use the tax proceeds to lower property taxes and to fund essential city services. In a state with the most regressive tax structure in the entire country, Seattle is again leading with progressive reforms.

“In Washington, our lowest-income households pay approximately 16.8% of their income on state and local taxes. Our wealthiest neighbors pay just 2.4%. This system is unfair and upside down. State tax reform is urgently needed so our lowest-income residents pay less, our middle-class neighbors pay about the same, and our highest-income residents pay more.

“This type of tax reform is especially important now and Seattle is going to start the conversation. The state legislature just adopted a school funding measure that will impose the largest property tax increase in Seattle’s history, adding about $460 a year to the property tax on a median Seattle home. It’s another blow to the middle class. We have a better plan, a tax system that is fair, progressive, and adequate to meet the demand for public services. The state legislature should follow our lead.”

Full Council is scheduled to consider the legislation on Monday, July 10.

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