February 5, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 6

News

City Councilmember Sawant pledges to keep only $40,000 of her annual salary

By Aaron Burkhalter , Staff Reporter

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Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant plans to keep only $40,000 of her nearly $120,000 salary and donate the rest to political causes.

During her campaign for office in 2013 Sawant pledged to take an average worker’s salary but did not say exactly how much of her salary she would keep until her announcement on Jan. 27 (“Reality Check,” RC, Jan. 8). The median income in Seattle is $63,470.

The remainder of Sawant’s salary, after taxes, will be deposited into a “solidarity fund” to support political causes.

She has already committed to donating $500 to Puget Sound SAGE, a union and community organization that supported creating a $15-an-hour minimum wage for airport and hospitality workers in SeaTac.

She has also pledged $15,000 to support the $15 Now campaign, which is advocating for a city-based $15-an-hour minimum wage in Seattle.

On the campaign trail, Sawant criticized Seattle City Councilmembers for being overpaid and out of touch with working people.

She pledged, if elected, to take home a salary closer to that of the average Seattle worker.

The Seattle City Council, which sets its salary each election cycle, is among the highest paid in the country.

According to a 2011 study by The Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative, at nearly $120,000 per year, Seattle councilmembers take home more than their counterparts in Boston and Chicago.

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