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State lawmaker proposes $275 tax break to counter Seattle $275 head tax

SEATTLE — A state lawmaker is proposing a $275 tax break in response to the new Seattle Employee Head Tax of $275 a year. But the savings may be just one of the tempting things about the offer.

“Everybody wants to be in a place where they are appreciated and do business happily instead of being under attack by city government,” said Eugene Wasserman of the North Seattle Industrial Association.

“I think (what) you see in the opposition to the head tax is more than just the tax itself. Businesses feel that the city and the City Council do not care if they're here or not, and so it causes people to look elsewhere," Wasserman said.

State Sen. Steve O'Ban wants to give a $275 tax break for each job created in the state's most economically distressed counties.

“I want to send a different message, so that it's clear to prospective employers that there are other parts of the state that would be tickled pink to have the kind of jobs that Seattle is turning its nose (up) at.”

It's hard to think that businesses related to the waterfront can move, but don't bet on it.

“Two businesses in the last six months have moved,” Wasserman said.

O’Ban is a Republican in a state Senate led by Democrats, so his proposal may not get very far. But it’s another warning about the business climate in Seattle.

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