The opinions by The Seattle Times editorial board and business columnist Jon Talton assume that corporations move jobs away from higher tax areas. A preponderance of studies show that this is not true. Cities that invest in themselves are, in fact, more attractive to workers and therefore the companies that employ them.
When I was a manager in Silicon Valley, I did see corporate pressure to move jobs away from Palo Alto into other cities around the U.S. But it wasn’t because taxes were higher in California. Taxes were never discussed. The driving force for the job exodus was the high cost of housing there. The company had done the math and found that it could pay its employees significantly less in other places because the cost of buying a house was so much less. After salary and health care, payroll taxes are a small percentage of the cost of employing someone.
If Seattle can make housing affordable for everyone, address the injustice of homelessness and create new green jobs, the city will continue to be strong and vibrant. If we can’t, repealing this tax won’t make a difference.
Bob Kutter, Seattle