If Mike McGinn is elected as mayor of Seattle again, he plans to ask big companies to help “pay for the impacts that their growth has on our city.”
That’s what McGinn said Monday on the front lawn of his Greenwood home, where the former Seattle mayor announced his bid for re-election with little fanfare. He told the small group of media members gathered before his white picket fence that his campaign will focus on reforming the city’s budget and tax policy, and mitigating housing affordability and livability concerns.
McGinn also pledged to support a city-wide income tax this year, though he’s certain it would immediately be challenged in court.
“Since we can’t rely on an income tax surviving a legal challenge, I think we must also ask our biggest companies to help pay for the impacts that their growth has on our city,” he said.
McGinn would ask those big companies (read: Amazon) to fund public transportation, affordable housing, and local services.
Amazon, for its part, is already supporting some of those programs. The e-commerce giant, which is headquartered in downtown, Seattle, has financed public parks, low-income housing, and spearheaded other recent philanthropic initiatives.
“It wasn’t very long ago that we were worried about attracting downtown employers,” McGinn said. “That was usually the concern of mayors for decades going back. But that’s changed now. We have tens of thousands of new jobs in our city and now we need to think about how these big companies can pay to mitigate their effects on this city and keep it liveable for regular working people and small businesses.”
McGinn posted a coy campaign announcement to Twitter earlier this morning, a week after a Seattle Times report exposed allegations that incumbent Mayor Ed Murray sexually assaulted a man when he was a teenager.
McGinn dodged questions about Murray’s legal trouble but did confirm that he “looked at the lay of the land and made an analysis,” before deciding to run.
Mayor Murray’s campaign released the following statement in response to McGinn’s announcement.
The last four years of Mayor Murray’s leadership stand in sharp contrast to the previous administration, when Mike McGinn was mayor. Mike McGinn’s divisive and confrontational style led to years of paralysis, dysfunction, and infighting at City Hall. As mayor, Mike McGinn picked fights with everyone under the sun. He attacked our Democratic governor, calling her a liar. He fought the Obama Dept. of Justice on police reform. He fought with our U.S. Attorney. He fought with our City Attorney. He fought with the City Council.
Murray also faces a challenge from Nikkita Oliver, a Seattle lawyer, poet, and Black Lives Matter activist. She is running with support from a new liberal coalition of civic leaders and activists called the “Peoples Party of Seattle.”
Housing affordability and homelessness are common themes among the campaigns of all three left-leaning candidates, though they have different ideas for addressing the issue.
McGinn, who was Seattle’s mayor from 2010 to 2013, is pledging to reform Seattle tax policy, which has been called the most regressive system in the nation.
“How do we get the hugely successful individuals and big companies to pay their fair share?” McGinn asked Monday.
Later on in the press conference, he answered his question: “I think we can ask our biggest companies to do more.”