Published On: Tue, May 15th, 2018

Seattle passes ‘head tax’ again, Starbucks and Amazon voice their outrage

Seattle’s City Council passed a “head tax” again, after failing in 2009, drawing ire from Amazon, Starbucks and other businesses over the move to fund help for the homeless.

The Council voted 9-to-0 to pass a compromise tax that will charge businesses $275 per-employee per year, instead of the $540 per employee figure initially proposed. Voter surveys show Seattle residents were overwhelmingly opposed to both proposals.

Photo/donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Starbucks Vice President Drew Herdener attacked the city for failing to practice fiscal restraint, and instead punishing businesses for what is ultimately the city’s failure.

“The city does not have a revenue problem — it has a spending efficiency problem,” Herdener said. “We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.”

Amazon actually went before the city council to complain that Seattle was trying to push its responsibility for its own homelessness problem onto corporations and was attacked by Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez for their lack of compassion.

“[Amazon’s] tone in this message that is clearly hostile toward the city council is not what I expect from a business who continues to tell us that they want to be a partner on these issues,” the councilwoman snapped, according to Fox News.

According to data published in December, Seattle has the third worst homelessness problem, with over 11,600 homeless, behind only Los Angeles County and New York City.

So does the Council have a point?

Seattle’s 2018 budget was raised to $63 million on homeless services, up from about $61 million 2017 and $39 million as recently as five years ago.

So, over the few years, Seattle has spent over $250 million to help 11,000 people. So, if we round that to 12,000, Seattle has spent over $20K per person with no improvement.

“This city continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside,” said Starbucks Senior Vice President John Kelley. “If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction.”

Seattle repealed a similar “head tax” in 2009 after business declined. Amazon paid $250 million in local taxes last year and has now paused a construction project in Downtown Seattle, pending the outcome of this vote.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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