Seattle employers are urged to contact City Councilmembers over proposed employee “head tax” to fund Office of Labor Standards.
The Seattle City Council is considering a “head tax” on employers to pay for a $3 million increase in funding for the Office of Labor Standards, and Seattle businesses are being asked to join the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in speaking out against this unnecessary new business tax.
Mayor Ed Murray has released a proposal that would use the general fund to increase the OLS budget by $3.7 million in 2017. This is the appropriate approach as implementing the city’s labor laws is a general fund responsibility. The need for more funding does not warrant a new tax on business.
Also at issue is the need to expand the share of outreach funding that is used to educate employers on the City’s labor laws. Businesses are calling for 50 percent of the proposed outreach funding to be allocated toward employer education since employers have made 75 percent of the contacts to OLS to date.
The City Council may be spurred to act by an initiative filed by SEIU 775 that would impose a head tax to fund OLS and pay for labor union and nonprofit outreach. This proposal would decrease the proportion of funding available for educating businesses about the City’s labor laws to just 17 percent of the outreach budget. As an SEIU 775 leader told The Stranger, the initiative is a tactic to pressure the Seattle City Council to enact a head tax.
If you represent a Seattle business, help encourage the Council to support the Mayor’s funding proposal and expand the share of outreach funding for employers. Email your Seattle City Councilmembers now using this convenient advocacy tool.