CARBON EMISSION TAX, INITIATIVE 732, would, over the course of two years, phase in a $25 per metric ton carbon tax. After reaching $25, the tax would increase annually by 3.5 percent plus the rate of inflation. To offset the tax increases, the Measure cuts the sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent and offers a rebate of up to $1,500 per year to low income families. Likewise, the business and occupation tax for manufacturers would be cut from 0.484 percent to 0.001 percent of gross receipts. As former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Greg Mankiw has written, “ If passed, [the Measure] would yield a tax shift, not a tax increase” (Emphasis added). No U.S. state has ever enacted a carbon tax and it is difficult to predict the net long-term effect of this mix of policies on the economic decision-making of businesses and individuals.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE, INITIATIVE 1433, would, if enacted, incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 per hour by 2020 and force employers to offer paid sick leave. In 2014, Seattle instituted a $15 minimum wage that went into effect on April 1, 2015. The period between April 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, saw the largest nine month drop in employment in Seattle since the 2008 recession. These types of proposed labor restrictions raise costs for businesses and will lead to less employment.
STATE-PROVIDED CAMPAIGN FINANCING FUNDED BY A NON-RESIDENT SALES TAX, INITIATIVE 1464, would significantly overhaul the state’s campaign finance system. Specifically, it would provide limited public funding for qualifying candidates by allowing citizens to designate three $50 donations for certain public offices and repeal a non-resident sales tax exemption to pay for the public funding. In addition, it would make certain amendmen
KING, pierce, and Snohomish Counties
REGIONAL TRANSIT EXPANSION, MEASURE ST3, would, if enacted, increase sales, property, and car tab taxes in order to fund a large scale expansion of the area’s light rail, commuter train, and rapid bus transit. Specifically, Measure ST3 would increase the sales tax by 0.5 percentage points, raise the car tab tax from $30 per $10,000 of vehicle value to $110, and increase the property tax by $25 per $100,000 in home value. As the Seattle Times estimated, these new taxes would amount to a $326 increase in expenses for a typical Seattle-area household. The tax would cost the average homeowner in King County approximately $20,000 over 25 years. These massive tax hikes would lead to a less prosperous and less competitive Seattle region.