Redfin CEO breaks with tech community on Seattle head tax — GeekWire

Amazon Fights Back

Amazon Fights Back

Given that there is hot competition from other American cities to become home to Amazon's second headquarters, this stated apprehension about the Seattle's business climate, should give Seattle's City Council pause.

On Monday, the city voted unanimously "to tax the city's largest employers to help address homelessness", write Daniel Beekman and Matt Day in the Seattle Times, but the unanimous vote did not come without considerable strife.

Amazon was foremost among several companies that criticized the new tax after the Seattle City Council approved it Monday.

"[The city council] does not view businesses as entities driving the job growth and prosperity in Seattle", Nelson told TheDCNF.

The new tax is expected to raise about $44.7 million annually to be spent on improving the housing situation in the city or to help homeless people. Following the vote, an Amazon spokesperson indicated the company will continue construction but will remain cautious in the midst of the council's "hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses".

According to a member of the Seattle Council, Kshama Sawant, there is a shortage of affordable housing and skyrocketing rents.

Almost a decade ago, the council repealed a head tax of $25 per employee per year because of the challenge it presented to businesses during the recession. But about 585 businesses-not just Amazon-are affected.

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An Amazon logo is seen inside the Amazon corporate headquarters on June 16, 2017, in Seattle. The Seattle business community was almost universally opposed to the tax, according to Nelson. "I think there's no question about that.They're not a saber-rattling, big-talking company and never have been".

Mayor Jenny Durkan, who expressed concern that the original proposal would lead to an economic backlash, said she would sign the new tax ordinance into law. "So I do not think this [temporarily halting construction] is a maneuver". In 2015 a state of emergency was declared over the homelessness problem by Seattle as well as King County. It was created to give shelter to around 200 women, children and families each night.

Encouraging endeavors such as Mary's Place might be a better, non-coercive way to enlist companies to help with the city's homelessness. Supporters initially called for employers that earn $20 million or more in revenue to pay $500 per employee per year, or about 26 cents per employee hour worked. It accused the city of spending without accountability while ignoring that hundreds of children sleep outside.

"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", says Starbucks' John Kelly, a top public-affairs executive. "This City pays more attention to the desires of the owners of illegally parked RVs than families seeking emergency shelter".

Dubin asked the council to step back and work with members of the community to find a win-win solution for all. The Council could start by reconsidering its strict zoning regulations that contribute to the rise in housing costs.

"We are trying to make sure that we both hear from the social workers, those who are experiencing homelessness, the housing advocates and experts...what we need most is the creation of housing units, and right now we don't have the funding to do that". "I'm confused about why the city of Seattle is fostering an adversarial relationship with businesses in this city".

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