In the “You can’t make this s–t up” department, we have today a venture capitalist in Seattle who has started a non-profit organization to try to stop a new initiative to tax the rich in Seattle. (Hat tip to Bossfeed Briefing/Working Washington and Monica Nickelsburg of Geekwire who wrote the original article.)
Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, has started a non-profit called (wait for it) the Opportunity for All Coalition which which will fund legal challenges to Seattle’s recently passed tax on high earning residents.
Last month, a coalition of progressive movements joined forces to pass a city income tax of 2.25 percent on income over $250,000 or $500,000 for joint filers. As Nickelsburg points out, only income over the the $250,000 or $500,000 threshhold is taxed at the 2.25 percent rate.
For context, it’s important to understand that there is no income tax in the state of Washington. All state infrastructure is funded through property, business and sales taxes. Thus, the state has fairly earned its reputation for having the most regressive tax system in the United States.
The passage of the city income tax will serve as a test case for the constitutionality of a state law banning municipal income taxes. When the income tax was passed by the City Council, Fox News “personality” Lisa Kennedy Montgomery infamously labeled Seattle a “socialist hellhole.” (If only…)
“I believe there are times when you need to serve your community,” McIlwain told GeekWire in an email. “In defeating the city income tax, we can help maintain a system of opportunity and job creation for innovators and workers.” McIlwain, an Ivy-league grad (BA Dartmouth, MA and MBA Harvard) invests in tech companies that have been sold for billions of dollars. According to Forbes, he relaxes by coaching youth soccer.
Meanwhile, workers and their families are being driven out of Seattle because of dramatic increases in housing costs while state and city infrastructures crumble. As huge luxury apartment developments go up, often in what were once more affordable neighborhoods, tent encampments of unhoused people are seen in every part of the city.
Well, it is clear which “community” McIlwain is serving–the community of the super rich. If sincere, he is living in the delusion of trickle-down economics. In reality, it is workers who create economic value–not capitalists. Workers don’t need the bosses–the bosses need us.
Already, the Seattle income tax has been in court facing legal challenge. There is no guarantee that the state courts will uphold the right of a progressive city council to levy a tax on its richest residents. The state government and its courts don’t represent the interests of the poor and working people of the state of Washington any more than the federal government represents the interests of the people of the United States. It’s time for a Congress that does represent the people–the Peoples Congress of Resistance.