REALTOR® Board confirms opposition to Seattle jobs tax

Jobs are the lifeblood of our region. They have fueled our economy’s rapid growth, and they have made Seattle and the Puget Sound one of the most desirable places to live in the country. The Seattle King County REALTORS® Board of Directors affirmed their support of our thriving economy by joining with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Seattle Association in opposing the city’s proposed tax on jobs.

The latest version of the so-called head tax from the Seattle City Council would apply to all businesses grossing at least $20 million per year in Seattle beginning next year. Businesses would have to pay 26 cents per Seattle employee-hour, or roughly $500 per employee per year. It’s estimated that the new tax will affect 500 to 600 companies city-wide and would raise an estimated $75 million annually for affordable housing construction and homeless services.

“Though this has been advertised as a tax only on big business, it appears the tax will affect far more businesses than first believed. That’s why we’re joining with the Chamber, DSA, and other businesses in taking a strong position against it,” said Seattle King County REALTORS® President Shane Davies. “We are concerned about the economic impact this will have.”

Critics of the tax from both business and labor say it will dampen our economy. Its impact will be felt not just in Seattle but across the Puget Sound region and is likely to affect the home purchase market.

The overly broad definition of “employee” in the ordinance also makes it likely that brokerages with independent contractors would be taxed.

Seattle King County REALTORS® will continue to oppose taxes on jobs in our growing region, and we encourage REALTORS® to act. We invite brokers in King County and across the state to share your views with the city council.

What you can do:

Here is a draft message you may use, or personalize:

Dear Councilmembers,

I am concerned that the proposed tax on jobs will damage Seattle’s economy and the larger regional economy.

While the rapid job growth in our region has brought challenges, it also has brought tremendous opportunities. I want to see those opportunities grow further. Further taxing large employers will slow or stop that growth – damaging smaller businesses and individuals.

Please reject the tax on jobs.


Your Name

The Seattle King County REALTORS® Board of Directors urges the Seattle City Council to explore other avenues for funding homeless services that will not come at the expense of our region’s economic success.

Please contact us if you have further questions.