Redfin CEO breaks with tech community on Seattle head tax — GeekWire

17 May, 2018, 02:45 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Dick's Drive In was established in Seattle in 1954

No one can say that the City Council of Seattle lacks bravery, even if it does lack for common sense.

The city council says the money will be used to address the homeless crisis in the city and is expected to raise $48 Million a year for the cause. "The council also included a sunset provision that would require the tax to be reauthorized in five years".

"The battle lines on this issue were more starkly drawn than they have been on numerous other progressive issues that the Seattle city council has pushed in recent years", Nelson told TheDCNF, adding the head tax drew opposition from many divergent interests in the city. Following the vote, an Amazon spokesperson indicated the company will continue construction but will remain cautious in the midst of the council's "hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses".

Additionally households in Seattle estimated to be around 23,000 are also at risk of becoming homeless since more than 50% of their incomes are spent on housing expenses. Sponsors of the tax said Seattle's biggest-earning businesses should bear some burden for easing a shortage in low-priced housing that they helped create by driving up real estate prices to the point where the working poor and many middle-class families can no longer afford to live in the city. The city says it will use the new funds to combat homelessness.

The head tax approved on Monday is not the first.

Amazon employs roughly 45,000 people in the Seattle area at its headquarters and other office space. In it, he writes that the business community is focusing on what it doesn't want, without telling the public what it does want.

"We are trying to make sure that we both hear from the social workers, those who are experiencing homelessness, the housing advocates and experts...what we need most is the creation of housing units, and right now we don't have the funding to do that". Publicly traded companies are not required to break out their total employees or revenue per city.

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However, Councilmember Kshama Sawant found fault with the amended proposal's inclusion of a five-year sunset clause.

Jan Gee, CEO and President of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA), said that her industry's problem is with the tax's structure.

The tax has been dubbed the "Amazon Tax" by locals. "West Seattle Thriftway, Metropolitan Market, Uwajimaya, your golden stars here in the community".

"I think you are seeing folks in Seattle who are not conservative by any stretch finally starting to question just how far left the city council has gone", Nelson said. In 2015 a state of emergency was declared over the homelessness problem by Seattle as well as King County. The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the US and saw 169 homeless deaths a year ago. "That's $17,000 for every homeless man, woman and child, and the problem got worse".

Council members should consider other ways to address homelessness.

The tax takes effect in January 2019 and Mayor Jenny Durkan has indicated she will sign the bill.


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