Council patching up payroll tax ordinance to try to avoid court defeat

Tomorrow afternoon the City Council will likely give its final approval to a modification to the “Jump Start” payroll tax ordinance it passed last summer. If you read the memo written by Council staff, you will see a feel-good story about the city making this change as a result of feedback from companies. But that’s not what’s really going on with this change: in truth, it’s an attempt to fix a potentially fatal flaw in the ordinance before a King County Superior Court judge hears a challenge to it next month.

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“Amazon Tax” bill is off the table — for now.

According to a memo issued today, Council President Lorena Gonzalez has decided that the payroll tax bill put forward by Council members Sawant and Morales does not meet the criteria for allowed Council actions under Governor Inslee’s proclamation modifying the terms of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA). As such, the Council may not continue deliberations on it while the Governor’s proclamation remains in effect, and next Wednesday’s Budget Committee meeting to discuss the bill has been cancelled.

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