Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

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

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

No one can say that the City Council of Seattle lacks bravery, even if it does lack for common sense.

The Seattle City Council has unanimously voted to tax jobs to help fund measures to address homelessness.

Beekman and Day add, "Along with the tax Monday, the council approved a nonbinding resolution that calls for spending 66 percent of the new money on affordable housing, 32 percent on emergency shelter, trash pickup, raises for service workers and other needs, and two percent on administration".

The head tax approved on Monday is not the first.

While Amazon has resumed construction planning on the downtown building, company officials "remain apprehensive about the future created by the council's hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here", said Drew Herdener, Amazon's vice president for global corporate and operations communications.

"The city council views businesses as entities to be punished and taxed for every employee that they hire". Sawant was the only member of the city council to vote against the amendment that reduced the original $500 an employee tax down to $275.

However, Councilmember Kshama Sawant found fault with the amended proposal's inclusion of a five-year sunset clause.

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Sawant would be wiser to regard Amazon's response not as extortion but as a harbinger of things to come, if the anti-business climate persists.

Seattle's rapid economic growth has led to increasing prices and a housing crisis, as rent prices are going up leading more and more people to not being able to afford them, making it the third region with the highest number of homeless people in he U.S. Does she not realize that the giant, job-providing company could pack up and leave Seattle? Amazon, with 45,000 workers, would take the biggest hit. Denver has enacted a similar tax, and Chicago had one but repealed it. Seattle itself had a head tax in effect from 2006 to 2009 but it was repealed to help businesses in the midst of the recession. "I think there's no question about that.They're not a saber-rattling, big-talking company and never have been".

"They're driving this economic engine", he said. "So I do not think this [temporarily halting construction] is a maneuver". Seattle declared a homelessness state of emergency in late 2015. Amazon built a permanent homeless shelter called Mary's Place within its main headquarters. "Technically", comments Bryan Menegus in Gizmodo, the tax is "calculated by multiplying working hours by about 26 cents for full-time employees (defined as 480 or more hours per quarter) at Seattle businesses generating over $20 million in revenue per year".

"This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside".

"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", said John Kelly, Starbucks' senior vice president of global public affairs and social impact. Those stakeholders also have expressed doubt that additional money will address the homelessness issue given that the council has already spent upwards of $160 million and the situation has not improved. 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". They could see what else in the city's budget could be reallocated to address this crisis. "I'm confused about why the city of Seattle is fostering an adversarial relationship with businesses in this city".

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