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Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:15 PM

Senate Democrats Introduce a Tax on Wealth Inequality

On Tuesday, Washington State Senator Joe Nguyen dropped a bill that would impose an excise tax on employers who pay their employees one million dollars or more.

Washington has fewer than 3,300 employees who earn over a million dollars, according to an analysis of compensation data from the Washington State Employment Security Department by the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI), a think tank based in Seattle. That's not a lot of people, but taxing their employers for paying them so much would make a big impact. If this tax were in place last year, for instance, it would have generated $226 million.

The progressive "excess compensation tax" would require employers to pay a 5 percent tax on compensation between $1 million and $5 million, a 7.5 percent tax on compensation between $5 million and $10 million, and a 10 percent tax on compensation over $10 million. I'm using the word "compensation" here instead of "wages," which would make more emotional sense, because "compensation" includes salaries, bonuses, stock awards, and all that other stuff you get if you work for a big corporation.

The $226 million generated from the tax would more than cover the $200 million housing advocates are seeking to fund the Housing Trust Fund, which the state uses to build affordable housing. It would put a dent in the $400 million needed to cover special education costs this year. Name your crisis that absolutely must be addressed this session—the mental health crisis, the education funding crisis, the higher education funding crisis, the housing and homelessness crisis, and the various environmental crises—and this money from the wealthiest companies could go to pay for some of that.

Read more: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/04/18/39951890/senate-democrats-introduce-a-tax-on-wealth-inequality

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