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Councilmember Mosqueda Celebrates First Revenue Returns from Progressive JumpStart Seattle Tax

SEATTLE – Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) the architect and champion of JumpStart Seattle, reacted to the first revenue numbers from Seattle’s progressive payroll tax. To date, the City has collected $231 million from the JumpStart tax from taxpayers for their 2021 tax liabilities, about $31 million above the most recent revenue forecast issued in November 2021. The revised 2021 Adopted Budget assumed JumpStart Seattle would generate $200 million of revenue in 2021. Tax payments are expected to continue to come in through the end of February.

“JumpStart is a victory for everyone in Seattle. I’m thrilled that the progressive revenue raised by JumpStart is above revenue projections,” said Councilmember Mosqueda. “JumpStart didn’t only invigorate our economic recovery during a global pandemic, it is jump starting and fundamentally enhancing the services that make communities and our local economy more stable and healthier for the long run.” 

“But not for JumpStart, our city budget would have been in the red. Without JumpStart, Seattle would have faced an austerity budget during COVID. When we needed critical city services, and we would have been forced to scale back support and cut jobs,” Mosqueda continued. “Because of JumpStart, we were able to invest in the most pressing issue in our city: doubling the investment in housing in the budget to an historic $194 million.” 

JumpStart Seattle is a progressive payroll tax passed by the Seattle City Council in July 2020. The landmark legislation raises revenue via payroll tax only levied on the largest companies, with more than $7 million in payroll, and only on dollar amounts for salaries over $150,000.  

“The largest companies, many of which were able to continue with businesses as usual while working remotely, thrived during COVID,” said Mosqueda. “This progressive tax on the largest companies is a minimal amount to pay so that working families and small businesses can survive, and so we can invest in housing and economic resiliency to make our local economy stronger and our community healthier. JumpStart is the type of progressive revenue our city needs to be able to respond to the growing population and burgeoning needs to create a more equitable economy.” 

After its passage, the Council unanimously adopted the detailed Spending Plan. In 2020 and 2021, funding addressed the emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting city services and providing relief for our most vulnerable neighbors with rental assistance, de-intensifying shelters to safeguard our neighbors experiencing homelessness, supporting immigrants and refugees, expanding grocery vouchers and giving cash assistance to small businesses and childcare centers. In 2022, the long-term JumpStart spending plan went into effect, making historic investments in housing, as well as strengthening small businesses support, the Green New Deal and the Equitable Development Initiative. 

JumpStart was called for by a broad coalition of over one hundred organizations from labor, housing, homelessness service providers, high-road businesses, environmental groups, and community-based organizations. 

“Like so many major cities, the pandemic presented Seattle with a choice — stand by while many neighbors struggled, or work together to meet the scale of the crisis with investments in the people most impacted,” said Zach Silk, President, Civic Ventures. “We did the right thing and asked those who could most afford it to do their part. I’m thankful to our leaders who got this done — we’re better off as a city for it.” 

“Washington state is notorious for its regressive tax system,” said Katie Wilson, General Secretary, Transit Riders Union. “By raising funds from the corporations that profit the most from the immense wealth produced in our region, JumpStart Seattle is moving our city in a more equitable direction. The pandemic showed how important it is to have a strong safety net and robust public services— our members depend on public transit, and without emergency infusions of funding for struggling transit systems, many of them would have been left stranded. Without JumpStart, Seattle residents would have fared much worse. Seattle must continue to lead in reforming our tax system and raising progressive revenue to make our city a place where everyone can thrive.” 

“How the City of Seattle responded to this economic crisis was very different from the Great Recession, and it was because of the heroic effort by CM Mosqueda to pass the Jumpstart tax,” said Katie Garrow, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, MLK Labor. “Jumpstart meant that instead of cuts and furloughs, we saw city workers keep their jobs, small business grants and food and rental assistance for those most in need. Going forward, the tax will be used to train workers for the innovative jobs of tomorrow and to help resurrect corners of our economy like the arts, restaurants and nightlife- the elements that make Seattle special and that suffered disproportionate harm during the pandemic. Thanks to CM Mosqueda’s stakeholdering prowess and relentless commitment to shared prosperity, she’s not just talking about doing right by people, she is actually doing it.” 

“JumpStart Seattle goes a long-way to addressing Seattle’s climate needs,” said Nicole Grant, Executive Director, 350 Seattle. “During COVID-19, we saw that the very people who were disproportionately impacted by the public health and economic crises, were the ones who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Investing in Green New Deal is critical, and there’s much more work to do, but today, we celebrate with the advocates across the city who are seeing real policy and funding changes needed to build an equitable future for Seattle’s youth.” 

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