Bruce Kendall said Monday his phone at the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County has been ringing steadily since last week's vote by the Seattle City Council to tax big businesses $275 per employee.
"I've received inquiries over the last week from companies that have indicated they are exploring options for locations in Pierce County," Kendall said. "And they are telling me that's why they are calling me, because the head tax passed."
Now companies have another reason to call: A $275 tax credit per employee for new, family-wage jobs.
Leaders of Tacoma and Pierce County announced the plan in a news release Monday.
"Note the value, it's not random," tweeted state Rep. J.T. Wilcox, a Republican who lives in Pierce County.
Seattle's tax hits companies that earn $20 million per year or more and is projected to raise $47 million annually to help address homelessness.
Pierce County's proposal provides an incentive to companies that provide new jobs.
The credit would apply only to new jobs paying $65,000 per year or more, said Libby Catalinich, a spokeswoman for Pierce County.
Each city and the county would implement it differently, Kendall said. Cities that have a business-and-occupation tax could give qualifying businesses a $275 credit against their tax bill, he said.
The median household income in Pierce County, where half earn more and half earn less, is $64,400 according to recent U.S. Census figures. In Tacoma, that figure drops to nearly $56,000.
The plan's announcement followed last week's publication of a video by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, which encouraged companies in Seattle to consider Tacoma because there is no head tax here.
More information will be available Tuesday as city and county leaders meet to announce specifics.