Socialist Seattle Councilmember To Pass Dangerous, Crippling Amazon ‘Head Tax’


Despite protests from hundreds of Seattle business leaders and voters, the Seattle City Council is ready to pass a “head tax” that may stymie business growth, negatively impact low income communities, and kill new jobs, all while funneling money into the Council coffers to take on homelessness. The ideologically-driven tax blames big business for Seattle’s worsening homelessness problem, when the actual culprits are the Progressive councilmembers.

Under the leadership of Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, with the main target, the Council will institute a so-called “head tax,” which adds a tax of $0.26042 per hour, per employee (roughly $500 per employee) at businesses grossing (not netting) in excess of $20 million a year. This would add a $20 million dollar annual tax burden to Amazon. In total, the tax is expected to raise $75 million from the targeted business and will go towards affordable housing to address the city’s homelessness problem, though the actual plan of how the money is spent and tracked remains murky — and Sawant said she’d like to tax Amazon at four times that rate.

The business response to this tax is like nothing Seattle has seen in recent memory. Generally, businesses cater to the Seattle progressives and aim to stay out of politics, even when they know the Council’s politics will hurt their business. But this time they’re fighting back, as this impacts about 500 already overburdened businesses.

Over 100 business leaders — representing Alaska Airlines and Real Networks to Expedia and Reach Now — penned an open letter slamming the “misguided” tax. Zillow’s CEO explained they may take jobs out of Seattle. Representatives of the legendary Dick’s Drive-In said the company would happily help tackle homelessness, but don’t want to give the City of Seattle the funds because they’ve been ineffective. Indeed, in 2017, Seattle spent nearly $54 million on homelessness, but the problem has gotten worse. They also don’t seem to understand the issue. Councilmember Mike O’Brien repeatedly says there are no shelter beds available, though the nonprofits on the ground say there are. – READ MORE

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