Connecting state and local government leaders

Seattle City Council Set for Final Vote on Controversial Employee ‘Head Tax’

Seattle City Hall

Seattle City Hall Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Possible early season tropical system … S.C. bag tax preemption … Minneapolis may increase age to purchase tobacco … and Baltimore’s incinerator reliance.

Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty's attention this weekend ...

  • Seattle, Washington: The full Seattle City Council is set to vote Monday afternoon on the controversial $500-per-worker “head tax” for large employers with annual revenues of $20 million or more. The would impact approximately 600 businesses in the city, including, Inc. Mayor Jenny Durkan, who offered up a scaled-back $250-per-worker version of the head tax on Thursday, has signaled a likely veto on the legislation that a council committee narrowly approved on Friday. The revenue generated from employee head tax, an estimated $75 million annually, would fund affordable housing and homelessness services. Meanwhile, the office of Gov. Jay Inslee this weekend sent a letter to Deputy Mayor Mike Fong indicating that the state budget may steer $40 million in additional funding to homelessness services in King County. [Crosscut; SCC Insight; The Seattle Times; KING-TV]
  • Charleston, South Carolina: Although a proposal to preempt local governments in South Carolina from enacting their own local bans on plastic bags died during the recent legislative session, “the fight is not over for the pro-bag lobby, which represents a plastics industry that remains a vital and lucrative part of the state's economy.” Expect similar legislation in 2019, including the possibility of “rolling back the bans that some governments have already adopted.” [The Post and Courier]
  • Paterson, New Jersey: This city’s mayor-elect, Andre Sayegh, is trying to buck a city hall trend: not ending up in prison or devoured by scandal. The most recent elected mayor, Joey Torres, was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to five years in prison last year, but he isn’t the first Paterson mayor to end up in prison. [Paterson Press /]
  • Baltimore, Maryland: Environmental activists and others in Maryland’s most-populous city are concerned that a long-range solid-waste plan relies too much on the Wheelabrator trash incinerator instead of greener waste management alternatives. “We’ve got to begin working towards phasing it out and 2040 is way too far out,” Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said of the trash incinerator.  That is not going to fly.” [Baltimore Brew]
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Members of the Minneapolis City Council are considering a proposal to raise the age required to purchase tobacco products to 21 and are hosting a public meeting on Monday to discuss the matter. [Minnesota Public Radio]
  • Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: Every inmate in the Milwaukee County Jail and House of Correction got a free, five-minute Mother’s Day phone call on Sunday courtesy of CenturyLink. “The bond between parents and children never vanishes, no matter what your age or circumstances, and it’s vital for inmates to be able to maintain connections with their families,” according to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele [WITI-TV / Fox6]
  • Sacramento, California: State regulations for marijuana within the Golden State leaves a tricky sticking point for those trying to transport cannabis commercially: In order to get a motor carrier permit from the California Department of Transportation, a driver needs to obtain a federal DOT number, something that “involves explaining to the federales—who are not so cool with this marijuana thing—exactly how the vehicle will be used.” [Wired]
  • Pensacola, Florida: Although the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June 1, meteorologists and forecasters are carefully watching the northeastern Gulf of Mexico where there’s a “medium chance” that “a subtropical or tropical system” could develop and impact the Florida peninsula. [Pensacola News Journal]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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