Tag Archives: Seattle head tax

Seattle Council votes to repeal new business head tax just weeks after they approved it

re elections meme

Did you know seven of the nine Seattle City Council members’ terms expire next year?

In early May the Seattle City Council approved a new business head tax to combat the homelessness crisis. From my post:

“The tax is an amount businesses pay per employee ($275 per year), with a sunset clause of 2023. The head tax was approved by a unanimous vote.

The main target of this new business tax was Amazon, which was not pleased with the tax. “Amazon had strong words for the Seattle City Council as it questions its future in the city. “We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement.”

Immediately after the tax passed, a group calling themselves “No Tax on Jobs” gathered enough signatures to put the matter on the November ballot and let the voters decide. They needed 17,000 signatures by June 14 and surpassed that amount.

On Monday, Council President Bruce Harrell announced that he had called a special meeting for the council to discuss repealing the head tax. (Harrell’s term expires next year.) They already had a draft bill prepared for the repeal.

Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a statement regarding the consideration of the repeal. Excerpts from her statement:

Over the last few weeks, these conversations and much public dialogue has continued.  It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis. These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region. 

We heard you. This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.”

Less than a month later the council has voted to repeal the head tax.

The council yesterday repealed the head tax by a vote of 7 to 2. More details from MyNorthwest.com:

“Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold said the opposition to the tax was just too great. The opposition, she said, has “unlimited resources.

Teresa Mosqueda, one of two council members to vote against a repeal, said she is concerned that a repeal will result in months of inaction and more regressive taxes. The process to implement a head tax took months, she pointed out. And, if the city wants to continue getting people off the streets, it will need additional funding. She called on businesses who opposed the head tax to come to the table with progressive ideas.

Numerous people in support of the head tax expressed similar concerns as (socialist) Councilmember Sawant, who accused her peers of making a last-minute decision and “caving” to Amazon. “Backroom betrayal” and “caving” were thrown around frequently.

“Jeff Bezos is our enemy, he is our enemy,” Sawant said before the council voted.”

Read the whole story here.

I can’t believe the Seattle citizens are putting up with this clown council with a socialist member who is calling the owner of one of their largest employers an “enemy” in a public forum.

Yet I gather from the comments on this article and also at the Seattle Times that some proggies in Seattle are finally waking up to the madness they elected as the majority have had it with the council members. Next year’s re-election cycle is bound to be a hoot.

DCG

PS: Jason Rantz from KTTH Radio tweeted from the repeal meeting (see his Twitter timeline here). A bunch of socialists/proggies were there to support the crazy council member Kshama Sawant. A few of Jason’s tweets:

  • “Lunatic just claimed the Council is pushing “the Trump agenda.”
  • “Priest is mad that Christians don’t ideologically agree with him and now claims you can’t call yourself a Christian if you support capitalism. This guy is a lunatic.”
  • Sawant activists in the crowd shouting down speakers whom they disagree with. But remember: they’re fighting fascism or something.”
  • “We’re done with Trump tactics,” said one lunatic at the meeting.”
  • Crazy women being removed by security now but because she’s a Progressive activist, the crowd doesn’t mind and she’s getting a pass from the crowd.”
  • “Socialists think the couple hundred of them that worked to pass the Seattle head tax is more important than the 45k who signed on to repeal the . They don’t know how numbers works: it’s why they’re Socialists.”
  • “Sawant said she’s now talking as an economist and some in the crowd just laughed at her. Loudly. That annoyed her.”
  • “CM Sawant – “I’m speaking as an economist….” People in chambers break out in laughter….”

Sounds like the meeting was a whole lotta crazy!!

Irony alert: Seattle socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant selling her book on Amazon

kshama sawant book

Socialist Kshama Sawant has a new book coming out (well, you have to wait until September 2019)! Price is only $9.99!

From her Amazon book listing:

“In 2013, Kshama Sawant became one of the most unlikely and most exciting politicians in the United States not only because she grew up in Mumbai and earned a PhD in economics, but also because she ran for Seattle City Council as a militant socialist, basing her campaign on a bold push to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the national minimum wage. She won the election, and in 2014, Seattle’s mayor signed into law a $15 minimum wage.

This is the story of how Sawant toppled a sixteen year incumbent who was backed by a powerful Democratic Party establishment, and reshaped Seattle’s political culture around demands for economic and social justice, reviving national debate around municipal socialism in the process.

This is an inspiring call for more movements to speak to the scores of young and old people who are looking for alternatives to capitalism.”

More irony:

Sawant has been spearheading the call for the “head tax” on big Seattle businesses, and has been very vocal against Amazon (the Seattle City Council approved the tax on Monday). She says that Amazon contributes to the city’s rising real estate prices and income inequality.

Sawant led a march at Amazon headquarters calling for them to pay the tax for affordable housing.

Sawant called Jeff Bezos a “bully” for threatening to take his business expansion elsewhere if the city approves the new head tax.

So in looking for alternatives to capitalism, this socialist is now selling her book on “Bully” Bezo’s web site, the largest internet retailer in the world?

You can’t make this stuff up!

DCG

This is rich: Seattle socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant says we need to “fight for our rights”

kshama sawant

And she’s not speaking about the Second Amendment right. She’s speaking about the right to tax big businesses to solve the city’s homelessness crisis…

From MyNorthwest.com: The city’s latest attempt at a business head tax will not only solve the homelessness crisis, it will help the affordable housing problem, too, Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant argues.

“This is the most rational solution; for the city to build permanently affordable housing by taxing big business because that is where the money is,” Sawant told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “They are making enormous amounts of wealth on the backs of ordinary people, so it is time they pay back a tiny share of their huge profits.”

The city council is crafting legislation for an employee hours tax, or head tax. It comes on the heels of a special task force’s recommendation that the city implements the tax — among others — to raise $150 million annually.

“You can’t go to working people because working people are already overtaxed,” Sawant said. “You can’t go to small businesses because small businesses are already overburdened. Who has the money and who is not paying their fair share? It’s the biggest businesses of all, like Amazon.

“Not your corner coffee shop or corner grocery store,” she said. “And if we tax these biggest businesses to the tune of $150 million per year, we could build up to 750 affordable units every year and create good union jobs in the process. This would make a huge dent in skyrocketing rent and the homelessness crisis.”

City officials, however, are considering placing a tax on all Seattle businesses — including the small ones. The city task force recommends a “skin-in-the-game” tax for all Seattle businesses. Estate taxes, highly-paid CEO taxes, and real estate sale taxes are also among the recommendations.

More than 300 of the city’s small businesses — many of them restaurants — signed a letter urging the council to at least include them in the head tax process. The businesses asked that the city not place yet another tax on them, pointing to the skin-in-the-game proposal.

Will a head tax push out big businesses?

Sawant pushes back against the notion that Seattle’s large companies will simply skip town if they face more taxes. Amazon, for example, has already begun searching for a second headquarters in another city. It will place 50,000 new employees there instead of Seattle.

Local leaders also had a meeting to “hit the refresh button” on city relations with the retail shopping giant.

Sawant says that idea that companies will leave is an empty threat. She points to Boeing, which still moved operations out of state despite getting huge tax breaks from the state Legislature.

“We heard these kinds of threats and blackmail from big business,” Sawant said. “Even when we were fighting for $15 an hour. We have heard this blackmail from corporate landlords every time we’ve succeeded in winning a measure of renters rights.”

“The reality is that the reason Amazon and corporations like them are making profits is not because they are creating jobs,” she said. “It is because, in this system of capitalism, wealth is rewarded with more wealth. At the end of the day, the solution to this problem is to not cower in front of this economic blackmail and fight for our rights.”

See also:

DCG

As predicted: Seattle panel closing in on plan to fund homeless aid with “head tax”

government solve all problems

In January I told you how the City of Seattle, which has a major homelessness problem, created a 75-person task force to solve that problem. From my post:

“The mission of the task force remains fuzzy — with a stated goal of finding solutions to “root causes,” including a lack of affordable housing and gaps in the behavioral health, criminal justice and child welfare systems that jettison people directly into homelessness.”

The City of Seattle has already allocated over $37M to address homelessness and King County has budgeted over $195M for a grand total of over $232M. But it’s never enough.

As I stated in my January blog post, “The solution now? Form a large task force which, no doubt, will recommend more new taxes.”

And, of course, I was correct with my prediction.

From Seattle Times: A Seattle task force will start wrapping up its work Thursday, setting the stage for the City Council to pass a new tax on high-grossing businesses like Amazon.

Supporters and opponents agree the council will almost certainly greenlight some version of the so-called “head tax” next month and allocate the money to combat homelessness.

Exactly how much money the tax would raise, which businesses would pay it and how the dollars would be distributed are among the details still to be sorted out.

A version of the tax almost won approval last year, but the council narrowly voted for more process instead, punting the issue to a panel of citizens and experts.

That move put the idea on the political back burner, but not for long, because the council vowed to revisit it with recommendations from the community task force and adopt a head tax (also called an employee-hours tax) or something similar by March 26.

To keep the council on track, the task force must make significant progress at its penultimate meeting Thursday, said co-chair Tony To, the executive director of HomeSight, a South Seattle nonprofit.

Underlying the debate is the knowledge that rising property taxes are “really hurting” residents and that Seattle’s homelessness crisis is “worse than it’s ever been,” To said. “People don’t want to keep talking. They want to reach a conclusion,” To said.

The $25 million-per-year-proposal rejected in November — as the council finalized the city’s 2018 budget — would have taken 6.5 cents per employee, per hour, from companies grossing more than $10 million per year (about 5 percent of all businesses in Seattle).

Serving on the task force are people from various organizations — including nonprofits that build affordable housing — and walks of life, including people who have been homeless. Also taking part are Ian Eisenberg, owner of Uncle Ike’s pot shops; Tom Matthews, president of Walsh Construction; and Jesiah Wurtz, owner of Cafe Red.

Other businesses are sitting out the panel in protest. The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which represents 2,200 companies, including heavy hitters like Amazon, declined an invitation because its members saw no point in serving on a panel wedded to an idea they oppose, said Markham McIntyre, chief of staff.

Though the council resolution that created the task force leaves room for the panel to explore other “progressive” revenue tools, it says the recommendations should include an evaluation of a head tax capable of raising $25 million to $75 million a year.

“This is a sham process,” McIntyre said in an interview. “They have a predetermined outcome.”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG