How Seattle Voted to Tax the Rich
Ziemkowski, Adam; Liebermann, Rebekahhttp://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/19/how-seattle-voted-to-tax-the-rich/
Date Written: 2017-07-19
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21065
Seattle further cemented its reputation as one of the most progressive cities in the U.S. last week, when its City Council passed a law to tax the rich, sponsored by socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant along with Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
Those of us in the movement should be crystal clear on how this came about. We didn't win this because Seattle's Democratic establishment suddenly began to care about the crushing impact that decades of budget cuts and regressive taxes have had on working people and people of color in our city.
It was the growing might of our social movements that led to this major victory. The establishment may have ultimately voted 'yes,' but not because they genuinely support taxing the rich. Mayor Murray and establishment Councilmembers like Tim Burgess and Lorena Gonzalez voted for it because we built a powerful movement over a number of years which made their continued opposition politically unviable. During our election campaigns, Socialist Alternative members spoke with hundreds of thousands of voters at the door and on the phone, held dozens of rallies, and raised a record-breaking half a million dollars from ordinary people with the bold and unambiguous demand to "tax the rich." It was a pillar of our 2015 campaign and we made it clear to everyone we talked to that we wanted to make big business and the wealthy elite pay to fund public needs.