Amazon Wins: Seattle City Council Votes to Repeal Head Tax

Comments

1

Per CM Herbold, the "vast majority" of Seattle voters don't want this tax. A day late and a dollar short. Instead of taking responsibility for their work the SCC now claims they are the victims and 45K petition repeal signers were duped by big business. Perfect.

2

Unfortunately a lot of people already got hurt. My employed laid of nearly a dozen people as a result of this idiocy.

3

Why are our city council members so insistent on calling the EHT a progressive revenue source? It's a regressive tax incident on workers, which would have a greater effect on low-wage jobs like Starbucks baristas than on high-wage jobs like Amazon software developers.

4

All you bums with no skin in the game and a “tax the rich” fetish can go suck it.

People have limits to how much they want to help after their kindness gets mistaken for weakness and some shit bag constantly rifling through your pockets “shames” you for not wanting to be shook down anymore.

The people have spoken and they decree that you, “Suck it”.

5

Pathetic. More pathetic than the repeal itself is the lemming-like ease with which the public was led to side with giant corporate interests rather than human need.

Seattle is no longer a progressive town. The overwhelmingly white, male, upper-middle-class demographics have overtaken POC, GLBTQ+, the working-class and the poor. The ease with which these supposedly liberal folks have swapped their political ideology when there was the slightest hint of making life a modicum more difficult for them proves that privilege is real in our town beyond measure. The NIMBYs and the rich win; those who actually need political support will now be left behind to rot.

I was born and raised here, but the changes in this town in the last two months have moved my disposition from annoyance to disgust. I'm embarrassed to be a Seattlite right now.

6

Sawant's speech was dead-on. The Council refused to fight for a cause they believed in just a month ago. I've lost all respect for O'Brien and Johnson over this.

7

A tax that would increase the cost of groceries and other commodities sold by companies that aren't Amazon or Starbucks is not progressive. Lumping in small businesses like Dick's and Metropolitan Market with Amazon and Starbucks is not progressive.

Seattle City government has not lost the confidence of the people because of misinformation or a big business conspiracy. They have lost confidence of the people through mismanagement of projects that land us with $12 million per mile bike lanes and safe spaces for car campers that cost tens of thousands of dollars a month to run (mind you cities like San Diego fund similar projects for less than half that cost). They have lost our confidence because they have demonstrated time and time again that the only response they have to homelessness and transportation issues is to raise taxes but not provide promised results.

Until they can provide some sort of meaningful results the shouldn’t get more money.

8

"When asked what should be done instead to help the homeless, businesses responded 'We're sending our thoughts and prayers'."

9

@4: Fuck you!, Corporate -Welfare KKKween. @ 5 &6: Indeeed: empty buildings and loopholes have a price the 99% pay for every fucking minute !!! --- nationalhomeless.org & corporatewelfare.org & thirty-thousand.org .Pfft !!!

10

“Megan ringing the gong at City Hall. We'll hit it 6,320 times today which represents the number of folks sleeping outside in King County.”

Which will do at least 6,320 times as much for those homeless persons than the money the head tax would have drained from our local economy.

13

I know better than to ask this, but does the city council have any other plans in the works to address homelessness? Or are we just going to continue using revenue from regressive taxes to fund unsuccessful programs?

14

The head tax was a terrible idea in the first place. Thank god they got humiliated into doing the right thing. If you want to tax the rich, tax the rich, but this was not a tax on the rich. Amazon and these big tech firms would survive either way, small employers would get hit much harder.

16

With regards to homeless issues:

This problem has been two generations in the making, and cannot be fixed overnight. We see increasing economic disparity because we see increasing talent disparity in workers. Seattle has been importing high-skill workers at a very high rate for more than 20 years now; the homeless and especially the chronic homeless we see in the encampments and pioneer square don't have any more skills than the chronically homeless we saw 20 years ago. By dint of that, they're further behind than they ever were.

As long as we're importing high-skill workers and have successful companies in town, the cost of living will continue to increase relative to the rest of the nation. NOTHING can be done about this, it's an iron law - unless of course we want to prevent people from in-migrating to the city, which I don't believe is legal.

The real problem is is that low income housing, in its current form, has been a TOTAL AND COMPLETE FAILURE. Literally, NYCHA-style housing projects are more effective when it comes to providing housing for low income people. Today we're obsessed with affordable housing set asides and the market has responded loud and clear that they won't build in the current climate without much more significant subsidy.

17

@14: Feel free to give examples of "small employers" grossing $20 million-plus annually.

18

@ 17 Dick's Drive-In, Metropolitan Market, Uwajimaya. They all would have been taxed the same rate as Amazon on Starbucks. Please feel free to explain how that is progressive.

19

Big business didn't win, the people did. We are sick and tired of tax after tax after tax and no accountability at city hall. All the city council did today was try to ensure they get reelected in 2019 based on the massive revolt against this tax. I've voted for tax after tax and have finally had enough. I signed the Petition and I don't work for Amazon or Starbucks or for any company that would have been taxed. What we want is accountability with our tax money!!!

20

Whole lotta bootlickers in this thread

21

This wasn't about Amazon...it was about the city council fearing November turnout from a set of motivated voters that they don't want motivated and don't want voting on other things. Getting the referendum off the November ballot became essential to them. Not facing voters, this year or next, is what they are trying to do.

Sawant is a demagogue with whom I agree on almost nothing, but at least she is willing to let the voters have their say and knows its her job to persuade them. The rest are party tools who don't want turnout from the wrong kind of voters. (ones that are skeptical of the need for more revenue, and convinced this city can't spend whatever they have effectively).

22

A frustrated and now irrelevant Sawant must face the hard choices she has to make if she wants to maintain her political career.

23

You are not paying attention if you think Amazon somehow tricked the general population into opposing this tax.

24

The city has a mid term election coming up, so lets see what the people really have to say about the situation. If the people want to give money to the homeless then vote out the 7 council members and vote in 7 new socialists. The the issue can then be brought up again. Just because the socialists got in a candidate does no make a total mandate for the city to take away everyones property and put it into a common pool, but we will see in the next election.

25

There is one good about this turn of events. We Seattle people can stop patting ourselves on the back and pretending that we are a some kind of feel good, progressive mecca. To quote Nancy Pelosi: "We're capitalists, and that's just the way it is."

As for the unfortunate folks who don't manage to survive in our capitalist system? They're SOL. We'll donate some money to the Union Gospel Mission during the holidays and buy an occasional copy of "Real Change," Just keep those poor unfortunate souls under the freeways and out of our neighborhoods. Long live Seattle!

26

Does any volunteer from The Real Change remember The Popcycle Twins from The Gong Show? This event has been slightly more entertaining.

27

@25: Given that for decades poor immigrants flee socialists and communist regimes for a capitalist systems, your premise seems invalid.

28

@18: Uwajimaya has an annual revenue of over $100 million. How is that a small business? Dick’s is a decent corporate citizen, despite the Spady familiy’s Republican leanings. I don’t know what their revenues are, but if they’re raking in $20 million a year selling burgers at six locations (that’s $10,000 per day per location), they can afford this tax. I don’t know much about Met Market.

29

So, the Seattle City Council has pissed off the right wing and then the moderates with this head tax, then pissed off the left wing with its repeal. Personally, I think Durkin is responsible for their moral turnaround. She wants her (for the kids) 600+ million dollar regressive property tax this November election not effected by the no head tax voters turnout.

30

this say it all. fuck amazon so fucking hard.

https://www.seattlepi.com/business/tech/article/Amazon-paid-no-US-income-taxes-for-2017-12713961.php

32

It is astonishing that Jeff Bezos, a man whose company already paid NO federal income tax last year(and presumably little if any in years past)has been able to turn the city council into his lackeys.

It is disgusting that KIRO-7 news dropped any pretense of objectivity and openly campaigned for head tax repeal.

Those that opposed this tax now have a moral obligation: since they have made it impossible, for the time being, to do anything meaningful to help the homeless-private charity does nothing for the homeless that matters, sweeping the camps does nothing ever but to make the situation worse, and the homeless do not need lectures about "gumption" and bootstraps-they have an obligation to help repeal the pointless and unjust state ban on income and wealth taxes, the only progressive and just forms of taxation, and they need to get to work on that now.

There's nothing that can be done with the existing funds, and "doing less with more" has never been anything but a Republican/Libertarian/Thatcherite canard.

We now know that, for the forseeable future, nothing Amazon and Starbucks don't approve of will be done in this city, and that none of the council members who voted for repeal will propose anything that could help the homeless. We now know none of the 7 are progressive on anything but meaningless lifestyle issues, such as the blandest, most innocuous forms of LGBTQ rights advocacy-supporting the right to marry, which is nice but essentially trivial and only of importance to wealthy LGBTQ people, while refusing to do anything about LGBTQ teens left homeless when their parents throw them out; "defending choice" on reproductive rights, but making that defense meaningless by refusing to fight for public funding for abortion.

The real fight, the fight for equality and liberation for all, which can only be achieved when all are free from want, has been abandoned by the seven. They should just register as Republicans and be done with it because it is no longer possible for them to hold any meaningful non-conservative views after this.

It's all back to "nothing to the left of Bill Clinton in 1992".

Thanks, cowards.

33

@31: I never argued that it was a progressive tax (though it's certainly more progressive than our current sales and property taxes). Was anyone on the REPEAL side arguing for a more progressive Head Tax? I haven't heard that argument. I'd love to hear it. All I'm hearing is "DON'T TAX JOBS."

35

@34: But the same Big Money interests that killed the Head Tax are the ones who will (and have) killed attempts at a state income tax.

Weirdly I ran into James Maiocco tonight at the Fremont Brewery. I didn't know who he was at the time, but we had a spirited debate on the Head Tax. Coming home and figuring out who he was, I checked on some of the data he was giving me about who gave to the Repeal campaign and how many paid signature gatherers they had. Suffice it to say, the dude is a liar.

These are the people we are up against. They can't be trusted and have the money to build their own truths.

36

@28: “Uwajimaya has an annual revenue of over $100 million. How is that a small business?”

Because it answers your ignorant, attempted “gotcha” question @17. It’s small compared to Amazon.

“I don’t know what their revenues are,”

But you’ll pull numbers straight out of your ass to justify your preconceived notions. It’s just not your fault reality keeps refusing to agree with your opinions!

“They can't be trusted and have the money to build their own truths.”

Whereas you don’t know anything, but keep trying to impose your ignorant nonsense on your fellow citizens anyway. Now we’ve told you to take your worthless ideas and go away. How did we ever win?

37

Guys, please use some basic common sense:

The head tax was opposed by most residents. Other issues in which big money interests have been vehemently opposed, like the $15 minimum wage, were popular with voters and Amazon was unable to rally support against it. It comes down to if the law is popular or not.

This law was not popular. Fin.

38

@36: Congratulations on your victory. SEEC filings show that No Tax on Jobs Coalition paid Morning In America, an Arizona-based signature gathering firm, $246,000 in May to gather 18,000 valid signatures. That's about $14 per signature. Most of that money came in $5,000 to $25,000 donations from a few wealthy folks, many who don't live in Seattle. The best democracy big money can buy! You win!!

40

@37: One way to tell if a law is popular or not is to vote on it, which we were not allowed to do. The $15 minimum wage was not popular at first. Neither was gay marriage. Tides turn when facts get out. Big money and seven spineless members of our city council made sure we'd never even have a conversation.

41

NORTHWEST GROCERY ASSOCIATION$50,000
WASHINGTON FOOD INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OLYMPIA, WA $30,000
AMAZON.COM SERVICES INC. SEATTLE, WA $25,733
VULCAN INC. SEATTLE, WA $25,000.00
6/4/2018 ‑ $25,000.00
MARTIN SELIG SEATTLE, WA MARTIN SELIG REAL ESTATE $25,000.00
5/29/2018 ‑ $25,000.00
HOWARD WRIGHT SEATTLE, WA Seattle Hospitality Group $25,000.00
5/25/2018 ‑ $25,000.00
MARTIN SMITH SEATTLE, WA Martin Smith Inc $20,000.00
5/31/2018 ‑ $10,000.00
5/25/2018 ‑ $10,000.00
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP VANCOUVER, WA $20,000.00
5/24/2018 ‑ $20,000.00
BUILDING OWNERS & MANAGERS ASSOCIATION SEATTLE, WA $10,000.00
6/4/2018 ‑ $10,000.00
FISHERIES SUPPLY SEATTLE, WA $10,000.00
5/25/2018 ‑ $10,000.00

42

Oops. Sorry about that ugly post. These are the Top 10 contributors to No Tax on Jobs Coalition, totally $240,000 of the $380,000 they raised (almost none from small donations).

NORTHWEST GROCERY ASSOCIATION, $50,000.00
WASHINGTON FOOD INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, $30,000.00
AMAZON.COM SERVICES INC., $25,733.06
VULCAN INC., $25,000
MARTIN SELIG, $25,000
HOWARD WRIGHT, $25,000
MARTIN SMITH, $20,000
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP, $20,000
BUILDING OWNERS & MANAGERS ASSOCIATION, $10,000
FISHERIES SUPPLY, $10,000

43

@40 That's one way, not the only way. $15 min wage and gay marriage had broad public support. There's absolutely no way to spin this argument that the head tax was popular.

44

@28 You quote Uwajimaya revenue as being $100 million, but fail to mention that most grocery stores have low profit margins around 1-3%. So why not use numbers that matter, like net income. Any extra tax burden on low profit margin business like grocery stores have to pass on the extra cost on to the consumer. So grocery stores would have to raise their prices, and Seattle in a recent study
https://couponfollow.com/research/groceries-cost-by-city, was listed as already having the second highest cost of groceries in the country, just behind New York, this is before you even include a full year of the soda tax. So if the head tax did pass, I'm sure we would be number 1. The point is the city council is trying to put all the blame on the big bad corporations, when in fact these taxes have far greater consequences and effect mostly the people the SCC claims they are trying to help. And as for Amazon not paying taxes, they paid over 250 million in state and local taxes in 2017. https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2018/05/10/amazon-250-million-state-local-taxes-head-tax.html

Seattle is about the same population size as Boston, but Seattle collects over a billion more in tax revenue yearly. This is not a tax shortfall, it is a incompetent SCC that has been mismanaging tax revenue for years now.

When I voted to repeal the head tax Amazon was in no way the reason, it was the small companies that have been around for decades that would not be able to handle yet another tax burden.

45

Everyone who wanted the head tax repealed now has an obligation to be part of the campaign to repeal the pointless, early 20th Century robber baron-imposed state ban on income tax. If that ban weren't in place, there'd have been no need to try and pass a head tax(a tax which was NEVER "a tax on jobs".

It's not acceptable to just leave things lie, and it has never been possible to "do more with less". Most social service agencies have spent every year since 1969 TRYING to "do more with less", because we've mainly had presidents since then who don't think anything should be done to try and fight poverty or homelessness(even the supposedly "Democratic" ones).

And there was never any good reason to listen to Jeff Bezos, the guy who said recently that he couldn't think of anything better to do with his excess profits(or "winnings", as he called them) than to invest them in space travel.

The fight back for tax justice has to start now. The rich HAVE to start contributing to the country that made them rich. Or we need to make them obsolete and run life ourselves, cooperating with each other rather than grinding each other into the dirt on the orders of the 1%.

46

@43: Voting, even with all its problems, is still the best way to set public policy. Big money and a compliant corporate media should not be doing it for us.

47

@27: You know damn well none of those nations were remotely Red: I bet you've never been to the Global South/Host to the ParaSSitiKKKill Global North ! ( with its centuries-long program of hoarding and polluting the POC-majority areas of This Planet. --- unpo.org & csstc.org & akpress.org . Look at the color of the skin of the aforementioned '3rd World' states' 'elite'-- lighter than the average . . . EconomiKKK Hitmen, lately? IMF/WTO/BIS/World Bank are ALL 4th Reichist . . . .

48

@9 - Hi Rebel (from Craigslist)

49

@45: “Everyone who wanted the head tax repealed now has an obligation...”

We don’t owe you jack for our having just handed your ass to you.

“And there was never any good reason to listen to Jeff Bezos,”

Making this all about Amazon and Bezos just worked so well for you, so you’re just going to continue doing it! Take that, reality!!

“...a head tax(a tax which was NEVER "a tax on jobs".”

Wishing makes it so!

Have you yet figured out why you just lost?

Nope.

Will you ever?

Magic 8-Ball says, “not at this rate!”