Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan: Meet the Businesses Backing the Head Tax Referendum

Comments

1

Where can we go to sign this petition?

3

Thanks for the head’s up on which companies to support. The head tax is short sighted buffoonery and will do nothing to solve the problem it purports to remedy. Where can I sign?

4

I went out and gathered signatures this weekend on my own accord. No corporate sponsorship here.

5

Suzie Burke. Shocker!

6

@1 I know right! Where do I sign?

7

maybe the list should tell you that a high % of Seattlites don't support the tax? Just a thought

8

Will the Stranger post a list of locations where we can sign the petitions?

9

Let's see...a bunch of businesses that say their finances will be negatively impacted by the tax are paying money to repeal the tax? Aren't those dollars also negatively impacting them financially? I love how hypocritical business can be and get away with it. "Don't make us pay any money for anything, but we'll dump mad cash politically if anything rubs us wrong." Ugh.

10

@9: Does it also confuse you when a business is willing to pay $1 to acquire something they can sell for $50?

Because this is the exact same thing. I am not making any kind of judgment about the tax itself, but investing money now to make more money later is the very basis of commerce and business itself.

11

Out of all these companies - the only one I kind sympathize with is the grocery stores. Albertsons are already closing up shop and moving out of Seattle - so what are we going to be left with? Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and QFC's (who can afford the tax), expensive-ass grocery stores which will just end up creating a larger inequity problem.

12

Just curious to know if anyone here is a business owner grossing more than 20 million a year. Because if not, why do you care? Jeff Besos is a multi billionaire, he doesn't need your help.

13

@12:

They care because they secretly fantasize - as most conservatives do - that they'll someday be as fabulously wealthy as those business owners...

14

You do realize that having $20 Million in revenue has nothing to do with profit, right?

15

It constantly amazes me how many people LOVE CORPORATE WELFARE. Yes, please support companies and their continued bilking of every cent they get, all the while vilifying the poor and demonizing the homeless, and pretending that you, too, one day will be like Jeff Bezos and therefore NO WAY DO YOU WANT TO PAY ANY GODDAMN TAXES. So many people are so incredibly stupid it is literally SOUL AND MIND NUMBING.

Corporations like Amazon (and Wal*Mart and McDonalds and the list goes on and on and on) are responsible for so many people in this country requiring food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, housing assistance, etc. - everything you unmitigated capitalism zealots abhor, yet your behavior and beliefs and alliances FULLY SUPPORT 100%. The enormous tax giveaway Congress gave corporations with their tax scam legislation has not created ONE JOB. Not one. Companies took the money and ran. Literally. The shareholders and primary stakeholders in these corporations are infinitely wealthier and will continue to be (because the individual tax cuts in the tax scam expire, while the corporate ones DON'T).

People are stupid as fuck. Nothing to see here. Good luck continuing to exist in a society where so many things are needed and yet no one wants to pay a cent for it. And while you're at it, please spare us the bitching and complaining about any taxes YOU PERSONALLY have to pay, while you're doing everything you can to make sure corporations don't pay any taxes. See, someone has to pay and since you support corporate welfare !00%, well motherfuckers, that's gonna have to be you. Enjoy.

16

Axis of Evil.

17

@14 I know the difference between gross and net revenue. I'm asking if YOU own a business grossing 20 mil because otherwise this tax doesn't apply to you so I don't understand why you would care.

18

@12: "Just curious to know if anyone here is a business owner grossing more than 20 million a year. Because if not, why do you care?"

The harm done by this tax is going to be spread over a lot of people, and I'm more concerned about the workers who will lose work, who will not see work opportunities materialize, or who will have to commute to work destinations in the suburbs and exurbs for those jobs that don't leave the region entirely. I'm also more concerned about all the people who will have to get around in a region that disincentivizes work in its central city.

@13: "They care because they secretly fantasize - as most conservatives do - that they'll someday be as fabulously wealthy as those business owners…"

You do realize this is Seattle we're talking about. Not exactly a conservative hotbed last I checked.

@15: "Good luck continuing to exist in a society where so many things are needed and yet no one wants to pay a cent for it."

I fundamentally agree with you about that, but that doesn't mean Seattle's progressively built economy has to martyr itself in protest against this nation's conservative tax and spending policies. Our nation's and our state's poorly conceived tax regimes are not excuses for a counterproductive tax married to a questionable spending plan.

19

Call me Scott @16: "Axis of Evil."

I don't disagree with you that Amazon is, in many respects, evil. (Profoundly disagree on Vulcan and Starbucks.) But just because a particular course of action, in this case repealing the head tax, benefits the bad guy doesn't mean that it's not the wise or ethical thing to do.

Kim Jong-Un is an even worse person than Jeff Bezos. I'm sure Kim wouldn't be happy if the United States launched a war on North Korea to overthrow his regime. That still wouldn't make it the right thing to do.

20

@11 why bother pretending youre not a corporate whore? Youre in good company here.

21

@9 What’s your take on workers paying union dues in the hope of negotiating higher wages or lower co-pays?

22

I’ll sign the petition with a pen I bought from Amazon while holding a double tall late from Starbucks. Then I’ll go to city hall and print off some “Tax Sawant” handbills since that’s all cool. Hahahahaha.

23

Saul Spady is the grandson of Dick Spady, not the great grandson.... Not like he hasn't been on the news enough lately.

24

"Businesses have pledged more than $350,000 to support No Tax on Jobs,"

If only they'd pledged $350,000 towards, you know, paying their fair share to supporting the community and city that they derive so much value from, and the homelessness that their Job Rush & high-salaries are causing .... But irrational capitalists will always spend /more/ money opposing the thing they could have just supported to the wider benefit of all.

25

The $15 minimum wage didn't "disappear" restaurant jobs... despite the belly-aching.
Somehow I kinda doubt all the "fear & doom" forecasts in the face of a Head Tax.

26

@8 If we can find one!
@23 Dah, thanks.

27

@24
Sigh. Just imagine if the petroleum companies had invested in green energy instead of fighting tooth and nail this whole time...

28

Oh, No! It can't be true.

"Seattle: A Tax On Jobs, $400 Million, And The Report That Never Was."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogervaldez/2018/05/23/seattle-a-tax-on-jobs-400-million-and-the-report-that-never-was/#387478835107

29

@28 Wow! I wonder if the stranger will cover this

30

@25: Apple, meet orange.

Seattle’s high minimum wage was preceded by fifteen years of raising Washington state’s minimum wage, and observing no damage to the economy at all. Then the City of SeaTac raised their minimum wage to $15/hour, again without noticeable damage. These were good indications Seattle could also have a high minimum wage. These higher wages go directly to benefit our city’s least-compensated workers.

By contrast, this head tax directly penalizes businesses for employing workers, and throws any resultant revenues down the same rat-hole where our former ten-year plan to end homelessness now resides.

If our City Council wants to Do Something on the issue of homelessness, they can start by investigating why all the money we spent simply produced a larger homeless population. Asking us for more money without first investigating failure of our previous policy is part of the reason Seattle’s voters are so angry with our City Council for having passed this tax.

31

treacle @25, I want to build on tensor's response @30 to your associating the head tax with the $15 minimum wage. I think you're going to find that the workers who are directly benefiting from the higher minimum wage are by and large afraid of the head tax. They should be.

The minimum wage increase is very much pro-worker and pro-jobs. The head tax is anti-worker, anti-job. Seattle is unilaterally making itself a less desirable place to hire, and where is the money going to go? The majority will go to affordable housing, which is good. But... That's only going to benefit a tiny portion of the workforce that will be eligible. SF's experience is an example:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/12/upshot/these-95-apartments-promised-affordable-rent-in-san-francisco-then-6580-people-applied.html

And the rest of the money? The general perception out there is that there's not much workforce participation among the chronically homeless.

I'm sitting here on the bus and overhearing some folks blasting the city council over the head tax. "#TotalRecall. That's my hash tag." Not the first time I've overheard regular folks on the bus expressing their dismay and disdain over this lemon.

32

@28 UPDATE: it looks like the report does exist. This story is a nothing burger.

33

@32, suddenly it does now. It was before and after the head tax vote only privately viewed by the City. The press went forward as if it was a full report, but it just came out today. No scrutiny or commentary or fact checking all other reports get.

Right or wrong, the timing makes this stink. At least this study can now get a review.

34

That was quick, wasn't it.

35

33 and #28, the McKinsey report wasn't seen by anyone outside of the McKinsey people and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in its entirety at the time stated by Roger Valdez. He is correct on that. The McKinsey researchers in charge did show it to numerous people and orgs, but asked that it not be revealed until a later date. That was the condition for getting early access to a presentation on the data. Sure. Fine. Whatever. A lot of people who saw it were interviewed by the researchers and wanted to know McKinsey's findings.

McKinsey's people decided to do the research and then decided on a city to look at. They then found a group to 'partner' with, unclear what that means in this case, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. That's why the Met can say they didn't authorize or ask for this study; they didn't. Silver platter and all that.

What the report boils down to is that the City needs to increase the amount of housing available to those without homes and get them into that housing. Less luxury domiciles and more affordable and subsidized housing. The $15/hr movement was an end run to head off the inability of workers to afford living here. It's not working; more money is needed. And housing. Not shelters, but housing. It's that simple.

If you're wondering why the figure of $75 million was pushed for the initial version of the head tax then ask your council members. They are happy to tell you. If you want to know how we ended up at $45 million, ask your council member they'll tell you. If you want to know what happened to the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness check the same sources. No one is hiding anything; its all a matter of public record. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either banking on your credulity, a conspiracy theorist, or a liar.

36

Oh yeah, here's the McKinsey report itself if you're interested. Fast read. Nice graphics. Well put together and there's citations so you can check the data against their findings: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/meeting-societys-expectations/the-economics-of-homelessness-in-seattle-and-king-county

37

@35, Thank you. I would like to The Stranger do an in depth report on homeless money and who/where it goes. And also reviews on this report that just came out today. Both sides, can't hurt.

One question, why is it worse?

38

The released report is @36 is clearly based on a much longer report The Stranger obtained and published last week:

Stranger article:
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/05/17/26197186/what-else-can-we-learn-from-that-chamber-of-commerce-report-about-homelessness-spending

Report:
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4465547-McKinsey-amp-Company-King-County-housing-needs.html

The difference between the non-public document and the shorter, now-published version is that all of the material which casts doubt on the "we need more affordable housing now now now" thesis has been surgically removed. As I commented in the original article at The Stranger:

"[The Chamber of Commerce] liked the part about getting more tax money for some of their member businesses, so they released that portion, of course. The data don't really support the claim we imminently need more affordable housing to end homelessness, though. The number of homeless rose as the poverty rate fell -- in fact, the absolute number of poor persons declined! -- so the idea of rental increases driving homelessness doesn't really hold. (Do we really believe the guys living in unsanctioned encampments, trading stolen bike parts for meth, were living stable home lives until a $100 increase in rent?)"

(The "two reports" are the Boppe report and its successor, released in July and August of 2016, respectively. Both of them say we can end homelessness with the housing stock we have, and that we should not couple ending homelessness with building more affordable housing. The City Council's flat contradiction of that last point with the head tax makes that tax a truly egregious example of legislative policy-making malpractice.)

@37: The short answer is in the two reports: the city spent money in a scattershot manner, trying a large number of different strategies. That is not in and of itself a bad thing, but then the city did not evaluate which approaches worked and which did not. Thus, we kept spending money on very expensive programs of very limited results (e.g. transitional housing) and did not spend more money on approaches and service providers who had gotten people permanently off the streets.

As the longer McKinsey report, linked above, describes, the city is now applying the reforms in the two reports, and we're seeing positive results. We should continue implementation and monitor outcomes -- NOT enact a head tax and throw money at affordable housing (which is not part of the immediate solution to homelessness) and at a half-reformed system which still has many inefficiencies to eliminate.

39

@1, you can go straight to hell in order to sign this petition.

40

On of the sponsors is Stan Harrelson, who, along with his wife Mary and another couple, paid the City of Seattle over $440,000 to settle charges of tree murder in the notorious West Seattle tree cutting case. He must have money to burn.

41

@38 "The number of homeless rose as the poverty rate fell -- in fact, the absolute number of poor persons declined! -- so the idea of rental increases driving homelessness doesn't really hold."

Actually it does, because rent increases far outpaced the poverty level threshold, which is federal or sometimes marginally adjusted for regional costs - and fails to take into account local or neighborhood changes like 30% increases in rent. Also the proportion of affordable housing has gone down, in the wake of new units designed for higher income peeps (which of course also drives up the rent on older places).

Affordable housing is not just about homelessness but also 1) far greater numbers on the margins who could be homeless in the near future, who work and support children and would cost a lot more for the city to support once they lose their housing, and 2) the tens of thousands who would live in Seattle if it were slightly more affordable - and if they did live in Seattle, they'd save the rest of us in traffic & congestion & put more of their paycheck back into Seattle (something that usually doesn't happen with the noisy construction worker demonstrator or the whining commuters next to you).