Dan Olmstead of Poverty Bay Coffee Company. Courtesy photo

Dan Olmstead of Poverty Bay Coffee Company. Courtesy photo

Paying their fair share of taxes: Ad features Auburn business owner

An Auburn coffee roaster is one of four small business owners in the area who appear in a new video ad, pressing state lawmakers to kick-start the state’s economy by making the wealthiest “pay their fair share of taxes.”

In his piece, Dan Olmstead, owner since 1997 of Poverty Bay Coffee Company in northeast Auburn, said money is stuck at the top because his big corporate competitors pay the same tax rate, or even less, than guys like him pay.

“Big corporations should pay their share like the rest of us. It’s the only way we will kick-start our economy and keep Washington a great place for everyone,” Olmstead said.

Olmstead said he supports the campaign not because of concerns about his bottom line or because he wants to pay less and make the big guys pay more, but because of the broader issue of fairness and the taxes everybody pays.

“As a small business owner, I don’t mind paying the taxes that I pay, and I don’t think the tax system is necessarily unfair to businesses like mine,” Olmstead, told the Auburn Reporter on Feb. 9. “My belief — and the reason I support this — is that there are people on the margins. We have the homeless crisis, obviously we have a health crisis going on, and I am just a firm believer that people at the top have a larger responsibility to pay their fair share.”

“This is an attempt, a step in the direction of equity,” said Olmstead.

Invest in Washington Now put out the ad.

State legislators held hearings this week on bills to raise billions for public health, early learning, and small business assistance through changes to large estate taxes and taxing extraordinary profits and capital gains.

Appearing with Olmstead are Aaron Verzosa, chef and owner of Archipelago, a Filipino-American restaurant in Seattle’s Hillman neighborhood; Karla Esquivel, owner of Andaluz, a gift shop in Columbia City; and the owners of Ice Cream Social in Tacoma.

“Economists estimate every dollar spent by the state generates up to three dollars in local communities,” Verzosa said in the ad. “We need to keep that money flowing, especially in neighborhoods of color, where small businesses provide good jobs and community.”

“If the wealthy pay their share, we’ll have an economic recovery that works for all of us. Money flowing through our community keeps people working and lets us invest in schools and business. That means more jobs and more business,” Verzosa added.

“Increasing spending is good for small businesses like mine because our customers will be able to buy a puzzle, necklace, or funny card. It doesn’t sound like much, but it keeps small businesses’ doors open. That’s good for employees and neighborhoods,” said Esquivel.

In a recent letter to legislators, more than 40 small business owners, including the owners of some of the state’s best restaurants such as Loulay in Seattle, are also calling for changes to the state’s regressive tax system so that the lowest income families no longer pay the biggest share for the state’s hospitals, roads and schools.

“Washington’s system pits students, patients, and the most vulnerable against each other in a mad budget scramble every year,” said Treasure Mackley, Executive Director of Invest in Washington Now. “The pandemic has shown us just how vulnerable we all are. Voters and economists agree it’s time for those who’ve done well in Washington to do right by Washington.”

In a December 2020 survey of 500 Washington voters, an overwhelming 76% support increasing taxes specifically on wealthy individuals and corporations. The same number say that “the wealthiest should pitch in a little more in taxes,” with more than half (54%) agreeing strongly with this statement.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Smuggler’s Deli Sandwiches (courtesy of Smuggler’s Deli Facebook)
Secret sandwich ‘ghost kitchen’ sneaks into downtown Auburn

Smuggler’s Deli started as a way to keep Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro afloat.

Downtown Auburn. Courtesy photo
Auburn restaurants may get sidewalk permit fees waived

In 2020, the city of Auburn adopted an ordinance to provide a… Continue reading

Auburn general contractor helps employees rebuild their lives

Mari Borrero has been a United States Marine, a Kent School District… Continue reading

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading

Downtown Auburn. Courtesy photo
Council approves B&O tax to generate more revenue for Auburn

The Auburn City Council approved the city’s first ever Business and Occupation… Continue reading

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

Cash Cards Unlimited partners, left: Nick Nugwynne, right: Cassius Marsh (photo credit: Cash Cards Unlimited)
Former Seahawks player Cassius Marsh cashes in on trading cards

Marsh and his friend open physical and online trading card store as collectibles boom amid pandemic.

First large-scale, human composting facility in the world will open in Auburn

“It’s what nature meant us to do. We just do it faster.”

The 7-story apartment building Teutsch Partners LLC has been at work on for Seattle-based NW Holdings for the last two years is nearing completion at 1st Street Southeast and South Division Street. The owners are set to begin leasing apartments this spring. Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter.
7-story apartment building nears finish line

The 7-story apartment building Teutsch Partners LLC has been at work on… Continue reading

Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter
A draft ordinance proposes to apply a square-footage tax on the city’s warehousing along with a possible Business and Occupation tax to help the city stave off steep deficits.
Auburn studies first draft of proposed B&O tax

Berk Consulting Agency of Seattle studied the city of Auburn’s general fund… Continue reading

Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading