Revived and evolving: King County payroll tax emerges with new provisions.

That didn’t take long. 

Yesterday we wrote that legislation granting King County special taxing authority missed a key legislative cutoff. The bill would have let the county tax businesses to fund homelessness and public safety programs. We commented that, while missing the cutoff would ordinarily mean the proposal was dead, this one seemed likely to be revived. 

It was. And it came back bigger than before.

The Seattle Times reports,

State lawmakers from the Seattle area have restarted their push for a tax on big businesses in King County, using a technical change to buy more time.

On Thursday, they unveiled a new version of their closely watched plan to let the county impose a tax to fund affordable housing and homeless services, and the updated bill could raise more money than previously proposed – nearly $152 million a year.

The new proposal is HB 2948

The new version is a special, revenue-related bill not subject to Wednesday’s cutoff, House Democratic Caucus spokesman Curtis Knapp said.

Like the old bill, House Bill 2907, the new version would authorize King County to enact a tax on compensation paid by most big businesses to employees making at least $150,000 a year. But the new bill would allow the county to impose a tax rate of 0.25%, up from a range of 0.1% to 0.2%.

Here’s why it’s not subject to the cutoff.

The new version says the state Employment Security Department would administer the tax, and 1% of the tax money would cover the cost of that work. That’s what makes House Bill 2948 a special, revenue-related bill, Knapp said.

KOMO News reports,

The bill covers only King County and employees making more than $150,000 a year. The proposed legislation would tax those companies 0.25% and would not have a pre-emption at that level, meaning Seattle could have its own tat. But if the rate goes higher pre-emption comes into play.

We expect this will continue to evolve quickly. From the Seattle Times story:

“Everyone is still at the table and we’ve got 22 days left (in the session),” Macri said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re making progress every single day. We’re spending multiple hours every day talking about this idea. … The policy consideration is not over.”

A hearing on the bill is expected next week. Worth watching.