Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) issued the following statement after the tax the rich vote in City Hall and in response to the Washington State Republican Party’s press conference announcing their opposition to the tax:
“Today, Seattle’s movement to tax the rich just won a powerful victory in City Hall! Congratulations to all the activists who fought for this!
“We know our movement’s work is far from over. Big business, the wealthy and the right wing will take this to the state supreme court. Our movement is ready for that fight!
“The press conference of State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison, who was there to rebuke the tax, was drowned out by grassroots activists chanting ‘tax the rich!’
“Olympia is controlled by Democrats and Republicans. While there are clear differences between the two, both parties have been disgracefully complicit in maintaining the most regressive tax system in the nation for decades, which ferociously punishes poor, working class, and middle class people, and gives big business and the wealthy a free pass.
“Rather than end the criminal underfunding of education by taxing big business and the rich, Washington State Democrats this past year went along with Republican calls for a massive property tax increase that will fall disproportionately on homeowners in and around Seattle.
“As Danny Westneat noted last week in the Seattle Times:
‘[The Democrats] agreed to punish the middle class and let the rich off the hook. … They capitulated to a Republican plan. . . that hammers Seattle and the suburbs with one of the largest property-tax increases in local history. While at the same time passing a bunch of tax loopholes for businesses.’
“The success of our movement in Seattle shows that the only way of fighting Trump and the billionaire class is to continue building mass movements of workers and young people, independent of big business and the politicians that represent them.”