Seattle Gun Tax: The First
"I guess one person can make a difference, but most of the time, they probably shouldn't."
-- Marge Simpson
"Cutting off the nose to spite the face" is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive
over-reaction to a problem.
It's a tax season in Seattle - the business and occupation taxes are filed quarterly - and so a few weeks ago
I got this form from the city tax authorities. I did not save the original, alas, but here it is filled out.
As you know, we have stopped selling firearms and ammunition once the gun tax went into effect - there was simply
no way to make a profit on it, - and we moved to Lynnwood shortly thereafter.
As it happens, we also filed our last B&O tax return today. Here is the B&O tax we paid in Seattle since
we opened, and the sales tax that we collected for the city:
|Year/Quarter||Sales tax collected||B&O tax paid|
That's $32K that Seattle got last year from our store. It will get less than $1700 this year, and $0 after that.
$300,000-$500,000 of additional revenue that Burgess promised? Across the city there will be at least a $100,000 loss.
Meanwhile, we collected over $3000 for Lynnwood in sales tax in just one month - March - of operating there.
But of course, it was never about the money, right? You can say many things about Seattle Council,
but idiots they are not. At least not to the degree required to honestly make this mistake. This "tax" was
about running the gun stores out of town, and many of supporters - Burgess, Harrell, Okamoto, Bagshaw, and
others - went on record saying as much - including at the council meeting when they voted for the tax - "because
guns and ammunition are too easy to buy", in the words of Okamoto, for example.
So, did this make guns harder to buy in Seattle? Well, let's see.
In March 2015 we sold 95 guns in Seattle's immediate vicinity (basically, Shoreline to Tukwilla, Bellevue to West Seattle),
of which 62 were in Seattle proper. In March 2016 we sold 89 guns in Seattle's immediate vicinity, of which 54 were
in Seattle proper. Well within normal monthly fluctuations.
Perhaps the ammunition tax prevented homicides? According to Seattle's
there were 8 homicides in the first quarter of 2016, right after the tax was implemented. In 2015
the number of homicides was 6 in the same quarter - as well as average throughout the year, to the total of 24.
In 2014, there were 3 homicides in the first quarter, and the total - for the last pre I-594 - was 23.
In 2013, again, 3 homicides in the first quarter, to the total of 19.
In 2012, 10 homicides in the first quarter, the total is 23.
2011, 5 and 23, respectively.
2010, 10 and 19.
2009, 6 and 21.
2008, 8 and 29.
As you can see, first, we do not have an "epidemic of gun violence", as the gun control activists inside and
outside Seattle City Council would have you believe - the number of homicides has been holding quite steady in
the recent years, and across the country was steadily declining for decades.
Second, the laws pushed by aforementioned gun control activists - such as I-594 - did
absolutely zilch to change the situation.
So dear gun control activists, whatever you are trying to achieve - it is clearly not working. When you try to raise
money, you lose it. When you try to ban guns, our sales go up. And none of your activities have any effect on the
one statistic you are claiming to be after - the homicide rate.
Sorry, I forgot. You are not actually after the homicide rate itself - only the GUN-related part of it.
I understand that you are trying to improve the world. Maybe you should stop. Because no force in the universe
is as senselessly and powerfully destructive as highly motivated, well-meaning idiots.