City Hall

Latest Pro-Occupy Resolution Includes Possible City Income Tax, Restrictions on Contractors

By Erica C. Barnett October 20, 2011

Nick Licata's resolution supporting Occupy Seattle and calling on the city to look at its banking practices now includes input from seven of the nine council members, and seems likely to pass once it's introduced on Monday, October 31.

The resolution doesn't go as far as similar resolutions in Los Angeles and Binghamton, NY (whose city councils voted to adopt a "responsible banking" ordinance and to divest from Chase Bank, respectively), but it does go well beyond a generic "We support free speech" statement, and it points to potential future ordinances that could actually impact city policy.

Two of the ideas mentioned in the resolution would have far-reaching implications if (and it's a big if) they were ever implemented.

First, the resolution commits the council to analyzing a new city contracting policy that would require all city contractors to maintain a certain ratio of executive pay to worker pay---a policy that would prevent companies with exorbitant executive pay policies from contracting with the city.

Even more radically, the resolution says the council "may consider" asking the state legislature for authority to pass a "revenue-neutral, citywide income tax" to replace some of the city's regressive sales tax.

The rest of the resolution's "to-do" list is much longer than the original version's. In addition to vowing to review the city's banking practices to ensure that city investments are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community," the resolution now stipulates that that analysis should "include options for changing city policy on where we deposit funds and investments."

The new language also notes that the financial crisis has disproportionately impacted women and people of color (language added by council member Jean Godden); commits the city to analyzing city and state tax breaks to see whether they're really creating jobs and stimulating business activity; consider public financing of elections; and push Congress for tighter regulations on banks and an end to the Bush-era tax cuts.
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