Freedom Socialist Party recommendations for the Washington State November 7, 2017 General Election
October 25, 2017

Nuclear war threats, climate devastation, football players taking a stand against racist policing, actors exposing powerful sexual predators — somehow the November General Election pales in comparison to the daily news. But it provides voters an opportunity to register a protest against our abusive tax structure and to demand that candidates get radical.

No candidates earn FSP’s endorsement this election

There are several candidates running in local city council races who have done good work on causes important to unionists, renters and immigrant communities. They include labor activists Pedro Olguin and Jimmy Matta in Burien and Teresa Mosqueda in Seattle, plus Democratic Socialists of America member Jon Grant in Seattle. However, they all seem to have great faith in the reformability of the system and do not offer the broad and deep critique of the profit system that is warranted in these volatile times. As far as we know, none are putting forward the dire need for working people to break with the Democratic Party and assert their own true political independence — for instance by forming an anti-capitalist labor party as a working-class alternative to the two parties of big business.

In the Seattle mayoral race FSP cannot endorse either candidate, since both are solidly part of the pro-corporate Democratic Party establishment.

Enough already with the regressive taxes!

King County Proposition No. 1 — Vote REJECTED
Levy Lid Lift for Veterans, Seniors and Vulnerable Populations

This King County proposition renews a levy for services to vets and vulnerable populations, and adds senior citizens to those eligible for programs and special assistance. The levy requires lifting the lid on the maximum amount of property taxes that can be assessed.

As usual, already-stretched home owners are soaked to pay for the much-needed programs provided by this proposition. Skyrocketing property taxes are hitting seniors and other low income people in this county the hardest and causing them to lose their homes. This is no way to solve the problem.

Prop. 1 levies a 10-cent property tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value, or $65 per year for a median-priced $650,000 King County home. The previous tax renewed in 2011 was half that. It lets Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and other mega-corporations off the hook — the very definition of a regressive tax.

Washington State Advisory Votes No. 17 and No. 18 — These tax increases should be REPEALED

Thanks to another Tim Eyman initiative that passed in 2007, the state legislature is required to submit a non-binding advisory vote on any bill passed that closed tax loopholes or raised revenue. But since advisory votes take place after the legislature has passed a tax increase, they are nothing more than pricey opinion polls. Here are our recommendations should you choose to participate.

Advisory Vote 17. This adjustment to the tax law would raise more than $400 million in revenue over the next two years. It would increase the already regressive Business and Occupation Tax that penalizes small businesses, tax sales of bottled water previously exempt, add a tax to online purchases, and shrink a tax on extracted fuel. This mish-mash of confusing changes screams for a rewrite — in fact just dump it altogether and find the funds elsewhere.

Advisory Vote 18. This property tax to fund schools would raise almost 13 billion over 10 years. Owners of a single-family Seattle home with a median assessed value could pay up to $460 more in property taxes next year. After years of abysmal lack of financial support for our state’s public schools, the legislature came up with the most regressive funding solution imaginable.

Let’s say it loud enough for the legislators in Olympia to hear. Tax the rich, tax corporate profits. Pass a steeply graduated income tax and dump regressive taxes that fall heaviest on poor and middle-income workers, home owners and small businesses.

Take action against handouts to Amazon: call the Seattle City Council today!

If you’ve had enough of corporate welfare in this region, please contact Seattle City Council members today and tell them to rescind their Oct. 13 letter to Amazon, which begs Jeff Bezos to expand in this region instead of building a second headquarters elsewhere. The letter, signed by five city council members and an array of regional politicians, pleads with Bezos to ignore critics of Amazon who have demanded that they contribute more, and promises to negotiate a more favorable business climate. The letter offers, for starters, to change our regional transportation plans, police staffing assignments, and our public school and college curriculums to accommodate Amazon’s expansion goals!

Let’s not allow a repeat of the 2013 debacle, when the state legislature called an emergency session to give Boeing a $9 billion dollar tax break if only they would keep jobs in Washington. And yet, since 2012, 20,400 Boeing jobs have left the state.

If you have any questions about these recommendations and issues, or want to talk it over, please give me a call at 206-953-5600 or stop by New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., in Seattle.

In solidarity,

Chris Smith
for the Seattle FSP Executive Committee