When the City of Seattle city council passed their “gun violence” (sic) tax in 2015 the proponent of the measure, Councilman Tim Burgess, projected tax revenues from it to be between $300,000 and $500,000 annually. Opponents of the measure suggested at the time that gun buyers would just avoid the $25 tax on firearms by purchasing their firearms outside the city limits. As we suspected all along the opponents were correct.
Thanks to a lawsuit originally brought by Dave Workman, senior editor of TheGunMag, Seattle was forced to divulge the real collection numbers. The real numbers differ from those projected by Councilman Burgess.
The real number is $103,766.22. Of that amount, $86,410 comes from Sodo’s Outdoor Emporium whose owner has indicated that he might just shift his gun sales entirely to his other store outside of Seattle.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Councilman Burgess isn’t fazed by the numbers.
“I’m neither disappointed or pleased,” he said Tuesday, adding that he knew the $300,ooo to $500,000 was just a guess. “It is what it is.”
The tax charges $25 for every firearm sold in the city and 5 cents for every round of ammunition of .22 caliber or greater.
Harborview’s take from the tax was always supposed to be about $130,000. The 2016 tax revenue falls short of that, but while the tax was contested in courts, the city allocated $275,000 from the general fund toward the study.
Money generated by the “gun violence” (sic) tax was supposed to go to fund “gun violence” (sic) research at Harborview Medical Center.
Burgess goes on to say about the tax collections:
Burgess defended the tax as a means of making gun sellers part of the solution to the effects of gun violence.
“The fundamental principle behind the tax is that the firearms industry should contribute to mitigating the harms caused by their products,” he said. “That remains the primary motivation for the tax. That’s what we set out to do, that’s what we passed and that’s what the state Supreme Court has validated.”
The law was not written to specify where the tax revenue would go, but it was always intended to go toward programs like Harborview’s, Burgess explained. So if the city had collected an amount beyond the agreed-upon $130,000, the excess would have gone to other education and public safety causes, he said.
But should the tax continue to generate less than $130,000 or progressively shrink, “then I’m sure my colleagues would continue to fund the program with other sources,” Burgess said.
I guess in liberal paradises like Seattle the voters don’t really care if their councilmen and women take a cavalier attitude towards taxes. That is just a price to pay to live in a city where the wealthy hire off-duty cops to give them extra protection from the criminal class.