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Free Minds & Free Markets

Seattle’s Proposed Employment Tax is Just the City's Latest Self-Inflicted Wound

City officials seem dedicated to driving away the businesses that create prosperity.

Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/NewscomAlex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/NewscomAs self-inflicted wounds go, Seattle officials seem to have stumbled on a winning formula for tanking their city's economy and their constituents' prosperity. All it takes is a deep antipathy for the laws of economics and a series of policies based on the same, culminating in a proposed tax on hours worked by the employees of large companies to fund social programs that are making little if any headway in their supposed missions.

"An employee hours tax is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every person for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities within the City," reads the tax bill, which appears to have four of the necessary five city council votes locked up. "The tax shall be measured by the number of employee hours of work conducted within the City during each quarter of the calendar year."

Every hour worked will bring in $0.26 from large employers with revenues of more than $20 million, for a grand total expected to tally up to between $25 million and $75 million. The bulk of that take is earmarked for the city's years-long campaign against homelessness.

Why the wide range for projected revenue? Well, predicting economic activity is an inexact science at best—especially when the companies you're planning to soak threaten to go elsewhere and take their jobs with them. Specifically, in response to the proposed employment tax, Amazon paused construction on a downtown office tower and may sublease space in another building rather than use the space itself.

"The company helmed by Jeff Bezos has planned to fill its 17-story 'Block 18' tower and the skyscraper being built at Rainier Square with an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 workers," the Seattle Times reported.

"Jeff Bezos is a bully," the city council's resident overt socialist, Kshama Sawant, huffed in response.

But it's not as if Seattle officials had no warning that Amazon was unhappy with the city's anti-business rhetoric and its intrusive policies which include high taxes, a soaring minimum wage, a nanny-ish sugar tax, and expensive labor mandates. In setting the expectations for a second headquarters—HQ2—Amazon specified that it was looking for "a stable and business-friendly environment." Seattle city council members responded just last October with a letter pleading, "[t] o the extent that this decision was based on Amazon feeling unwelcome in Seattle, or not being included in some of our regional decisions, we would like to hit the refresh button."

And they had good reason to plead. In 2015, the city's budget department attributed 43 percent of jobs created in the post-Great Recession recovery to Amazon and Boeing, directly and also indirectly through secondary and tertiary effects.

Maybe, just maybe, employers and workers targeted by the proposed employee hours tax might be less resistant to being soaked if the money wasn't so likely to be unproductively pissed away while homelessness continues to worsen. But this week Seattle residents learned that "KOMO News has obtained an unpublished report that shows how the city spent more than $53 million on the homeless in 2017. Although millions have been spent, Seattle's homeless population continues to rise."

Apparently, $20 million of the money went to emergency and shelter services, and "only six percent of people who use those services were able to find permanent housing."

The Associated Press noted last year that "while homelessness has decreased nationwide and in many cities, the problem has grown in others, such as Seattle. In 2016, a one-night homeless count found nearly 3,000 people living outside in this city of about 650,000, marking the fourth straight year of increases."

Even before that, in 2015, the local NPR affiliate found that the city's 10-year plan to end homelessness was doing nothing of the sort. "[T]he 10-year plan is ending and local homelessness is worse than ever" even though "[t]he ranks of the homeless have declined in Washington state and nationally during that time."

Then again, part of that homelessness is due to high housing costs fueled by demand from highly paid employees of the sort of large companies targeted by the employee hours tax. Building takes time, so supply can't immediately catch up to demand—especially when real estate development is regulated by the same city officials doing their best to alienate the city's large employers. Among other rules, Seattle mandates a minimum number of parking spaces be included in residential construction, and also mandates that developers either include low-cost housing in their plans or else contribute to a housing fund—measures that raise costs.

So chasing big employers out of the city would certainly reduce the demand driving rising housing costs. But that sort of gut-punch to the economy might not be a "solution" that Seattle residents ultimate appreciate.

Of course, Seattle isn't the only city to try to cripple itself with taxes and regulations. Cities across the country have been hiking minimum wages—an issue on which Seattle is a leader. That's unfortunate, given the negative impact researchers find the requirement has had on employment there. And Seattle's real estate red tape has yet to reach the heights of complexity and corruption that, in New York City, requires an industry of middle-men "expediters" to navigate—and has trashed the construction of new housing in San Francisco.

Nobody doubts that in its search for an HQ2 location, Amazon wants a more business-friendly environment. Some cities are basing their pitches on exactly that assumption (they're also being warned to focus on the tax and regulatory environment, rather than expensive bribes to the company). Locales that want healthy economies will be well-advised to avoid emulating Seattle's mistake of abusing the businesses that help to create prosperity.

Photo Credit: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "All it takes is a deep antipathy for the laws of economics and a series of policies based on the same,.."

    I think that pretty well covers the progressive platform. More to come in 2018 and 2020.

  • esteve7||

    They keep this up and Trump will win again. I told my proggy roommate ranting about gun control etc, to please keep that up. The only way you could fuck up an election harder then 2016 is to go even farther to the left.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Proggy roomate." Well that sure sucks. You must be a lot more resilient than I am, if he or she is still alive.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    He should keep a leash on him. Literally.

  • ||

    The only way you could fuck up an election harder then 2016 is to go even farther to the left.

    Do you want Nazis? Because this is how you get Nazis!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "An employee hours tax is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every person for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities within the City," reads the tax bill, which appears to have four of the necessary five city council votes locked up.

    Sounds legit. So Discordianism is the official state religion of Cascadia, huh?

  • Curly4||

    Yes, however we still have the right (for a while longer) here in the USA to move a business that we own to another place city, county, state or even nation if we need to. But I do think as more and more communists, socialists and progressives are elected to office that ability to move will become less likely and more restricted until it will be controlled by the government. By that time the control will be on the federal level.

  • Ron||

    California is trying to create a business exit tax for any business that leave the state. California already tried to tax the retirement income of any Californian who moved to another state after retiring, thankfully that was shot down in court

  • Microaggressor||

    What they really need is a big, beautiful wall to keep the cattle from wandering off to greener pastures.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Solution, close the business in California, take the capital from the companies assets and start a new company in the new state.

  • Sevo||

    "Solution, close the business in California, take the capital from the companies assets and start a new company in the new state."
    Ha, ha!
    You haven't heard of the "Anti-Going Out of Business" law?

  • soldiermedic76||

    We are always just one more law away from socialist Nirvana, am I right?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This is unusual that they don't have unanimous support. Almost everything-- especially the more controversial-- passes unanimously on the council. They really are a corrupt bunch of fuckers.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Corrupt? Maybe. What I see is just a bunch of leftist idiots running wild with power they should never have achieved in the first place.

  • Curly4||

    Well economics has a way to weed out those who don't want to grow. When the local economists increase the cost of doing business than businesses will move if the have to stay in business, otherwise the unemployment rate will climb when the company go under.

  • HGW xx/7||

    The author is making the false assumption that the filthy lefties of Seattle (though, I repeat myself) want a healthy economy. They do not; such elements allow people the freedom of choice, mobility, and the ability to tell slavers to fuck themselves. These concepts are impediments to their centrally-planned wet dream. Ergo, they must destroy the economy under the guise of compassion.

  • Jerryskids||

    I'm no expert on Public Choice Theory, but I'm pretty sure assuming that politicians and their supporters are solely interested in the common good is the most fundamental of logical errors. It's usually better to start an analysis of a bill "for the common good" by asking, not "how does this benefit the public?", but by asking "who does this bill benefit?". It may seem cynical, but it's accurate.

  • Ron||

    Not just who does this bill benefit but who will be harmed by this bill and why would you want to harm anyone when your job is to lift everyone

  • nbv87@hotmail.com||

    Not just who does this bill benefit, and not just who will be harmed by this bill, but also: who (what lobby, or industry, or union, etc.,) will pay me the most to vote for or against this bill?

  • Curly4||

    Yes they have to destroy the economy so that they can take over and have the federal government control everything and then the states become only administration districts and no longer makers of the law. So just remember it is coming if these type of politicians gain more control.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Actually, there is a fundamental difference in what they mean by "economy".

    For most free(-er) market fans, the economy is the sum total of independent decisions about buying, selling, labor, etc. At a happy minimum, the government runs the score board and provides some referees.

    For dedicated socialists, "economy" means the multi-layered master plan the government formulates and manages that tells people what to do. So, they do indeed want a healthy economy, but it means something completely different.

  • mpercy||

    When people are allowed to choose, they choose wrong.

  • Eric Schmidt||

    For the "renting class" (or 42%) of Seattle, we were better off when there was a depressed economy.

    Its not like bringing in a population of 20-30 year old software designers and code writers addded a lot to the culture. Yep they and the companies who hire them circulate more money into the economy, but it all goes to make the city serviceable to the expansion they cause. How is that an improvement in the quality of life?

    Before the blessing of these huge companies, you could easily find a one bedroom apartment with a view on a minimum wage job, and there were enough of those. Reasonable housing is a huge factor in quality of life and its gone.

    Because of the economy you like, the city is full of 50 year olds who share one bedroom apartments with strangers and those stocking shelves at pharmacies and the baggers at groceries are increasingly seniors who can't afford to stop working. The streets are lined with shops dedicated to a luxury that is foreign to many who have been discomfited by the expansion.

    A brisker economy is simply not good for everyone despite anyone's favorite economic theory.

  • Longtobefree||

    "An employee hours tax is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every person for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities within the City,"

    Actually, that reads as if the tax is upon the employees, not the employer. All Amazon would do is deduct the tax from the employees pay and remit to the city, right?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Yes, and if Amazon and other companies have any brains, they will clearly label the deduction on pay stubs. $10/week won't buy many Seattle lunches, but it will be noticed as just another nickle and dime FYTW.

  • Curly4||

    No, but one could could go to Stark Bucks once if one would buy only a drink!

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    If it's a rax on the employee, it will have to be broken out on the stubs and W2's. There may be an impact on the federal taxes.

  • BYODB||

    There's no way Seattle wants this tax to show up on a W2, it'll be a tax on the employer directly.

  • esteve7||

    Like how my roommate whines about how great the labor theory of value.

    These people are economic flat-earthers, economic creationists, economic illiterates. They are a cult, because no matter how many times they've been proven wrong, their faith still guides them. There is no reason.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Economic flat earthers... Fantastic analogy/description

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Left-wingers are economic flat-earthers.

    Right-wingers are genuine flat-earthers, half-educated yahoos who believe fairy tales are true. And they are bigots.

    Where is the hope for America?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    No matter how uninformed a discussion we can always count on Kirkland to lower it to new depths

  • soldiermedic76||

    Kirkland is why Poe's law exists. I really have not decided if he really is that emotionally and intellectually stunted to believe his sophomoric drivel or if it is all an act.

  • Sevo||

    "Where is the hope for America?"
    Might be. Are you considering suicide?

  • Exocetmd||

    It gets better...a union group "Working Washington" has asked the attorney general to file Class B felony charges against Jeff Bezos for "intimidating a public servant" because of the construction pause (which they claim is an attempt to coerce the city council), according to the Seattle Times yesterday.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    This should be ridiculous, except after what happened with the commerce clause I'm concerned this might not seem unreasonable.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    A union arguing that Amazon is using "financial intimidation" is pretty fucking rich.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

  • Curly4||

    Maybe it is time for Bezos to find a more welcoming place to headquarter in. I know of a place or two. One of those places is Texas which has seen a tremendous increase in the tech industry. Several companies have moved from the West Coast area to Texas.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yeah, but Austin tries SO hard to be like Seattle.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    Austin was pretty cool like 15-20 years ago but goddamn I can't stand that place now

  • BYODB||

    As a Texan, I can confirm that Austin does want to mimic places like Seattle.

    Fortunately for Texas, Austin is one city and frankly it's a city no one really likes living in. Honestly, their city planners have been doing nothing except cocaine for something like 30 years now.

    They literally installed a bypass for the entire city because they couldn't figure out how to make the interstate that goes through the city passable. It's truly absurd.

    That said, the Progressive retards that live there probably do enjoy living in Austin because it's so woke, but they also have probably never left the city because the traffic jam won't let them.

  • Microaggressor||

    Seattle has rainbow colored crosswalks. You can't out-woke that.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Both San Francisco and Portland just said "hold my beer."

  • Sevo||

    Both San Francisco and Portland just said "hold my beer."

    Artisanal beer, Knott.

  • BYODB||

    I guess you hadn't heard about Austin's rainbow crosswalk proposal, then, which yes I'm pretty sure they stole from Seattle.

    The reason why Austin folk were 'mad' about it? Because they want to keep Austin weird, and don't want to just copy the stupid shit Seattle does. They want to come up with their own stupid shit to implement.

    Yes, bizarre I know.

    One Article on the Subject

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Austin is an oasis of education, tolerance, and progress in the backward, bigoted, ignorant, rural yahoo stretch that is most of Texas.

    It consequently figures that Austin would be disdained by Republicans, conservatives, and disaffected right-wingers in Lubbock, Laredo, McAllen, and the rest of the can't-keep-upTexas towns that have been on the wrong end of bright flight for generations.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Thank you for yet another pro-left contribution. The hits just keep on coming

  • Earth Skeptic||

    A city council safe space?

  • LynchPin1477||

    An employee hours tax is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every person for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities within the City

    That one word tells you pretty much all you need to know about what's wrong with the Seattle city council.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Amazon will build their new HQ in Georgia and then shutdown HQ1 in Seattle. That is my prediction.

  • Paper Wasp||

    That's a reasonable guess, I think.

    And then the elitist progs can boo-hoo into their sleeves that the city's unemployment rate jumped to around 10%, that they paid $800K for houses that are now worth $200K, and that all of the trendy hipster restaurants where they used to order $20 salads in compostable bowls for lunch are gone. Because guess who was supporting the entire service economy.

    Fucking retards.

  • Ron||

    then under the commerce clause Seattle will get the government to impose a fine equal to the estimated tax just like they did to Boeing

  • soldiermedic76||

    I am trying to find a story on this but have been unable to. Could you please provide more information on your claim?

  • KG363||

    $53,000,000 spent on 3,000 homeless in 2017. That's $17,667 per homeless person. I think $1,472 per month could easily house someone.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Well, and individual could house themselves with $1,472/month, maybe even in Seattle. The government, though....

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    Ah. See, there's the thing. The money didn't go to the homeless people. It went to connected non-profits and government agencies who said they would spend whatever was leftover from salaries on homeless people.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Bingo.

  • Ron||

    A local non profit did exactly that, they claimed the government only gave them enough money to keep the one administer employed with nothing left over. did they close no, they stayed open even though they couldn't help anyone.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yeah, but how did they FEEL?

  • Jerryskids||

    Your math is off. $53m spent on a program for 3,000 homeless minus the $43m it cost to administer the program works out to about tree fiddy per homeless.

  • Kristian H.||

    Spending money on the homeless. Hmm, isn't there some economic wisdom about subsidies and supply?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Hmm, good point.

    So invert the metrics: more homeless = more help for the homeless = success

  • Microaggressor||

    Seattle hopes to be the country's homeless magnet. It will work until they run out of other people's money when Boeing and Amazon wise up and get the fuck out before it's too late. Detroit 2.0.

  • ||

    Detroit 2.0.

    "Get back in line and wait your turn." - Chicago

  • soldiermedic76||

    Difference is Chicago is taking the whole state with them. Washington isn't quite that bad yet (Spokane and the rest of Eastern Washington, minus Pullman, is still fairly sane).

  • Curly4||

    What the city council's resident overt socialist, Kshama Sawant, and others of the same persuasion don't realize is these businesses are private and not an extension of the city (or state) government. As private companies they have the right to move to wherever they chose. When the cost of doing business in one community goes to high then the company will move to a place that cost less to do business. But with most communist, socialists and progressives believe that even private companies are just an extension of the government and a source of income for them to use to accomplish their political and social goals. But here in the USA, for a while longer, a business can move from an area of higher taxes to an area of lower taxes. By that ability may not last a whole lot longer.

  • esteve7||

    There's a reason socialism always turns into setting up walls and shooting people trying to leave

  • No Longer Amused||

    Seattle has no campaign "against homelessness" - it has a decades long campaign designed to attract and coddle junkies, bums, panhandlers and other assorted street garbage to use for political purposes (tax revenue for slush funds, expansion of government, etc.)

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Or what you said.

  • Paper Wasp||

    The city told police not to arrest or interfere with the homeless or vagrants. So when people have bumfights and mountains of garbage going on in their neighborhoods (yes, the homeless are now in residential neighborhoods, not just in the downtown core/Capitol Hill where they used to be) and call the cops, the cops shrug and say, "We can't do anything."

    They built a couple dozen tiny houses for the homeless, that's about all. They've spent hundreds of millions on this issue over the past decade or so and have nothing to show for it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    (yes, the homeless are now in residential neighborhoods, not just in the downtown core/Capitol Hill where they used to be)

    They've been in the residential neighborhoods for a while now.

    They've spent hundreds of millions on this issue over the past decade or so and have nothing to show for it.

    That's not true. They've lined the pockets of dozens of experts, created new departments, all the tune of six figure salaries thrown around like beads at a Mardi Gras parade.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    They've lined the pockets of dozens of experts, created new departments, all the tune of six figure salaries thrown around like beads at a Mardi Gras parade.

    Just as long as there is a commensurate amount of tit-flashing

  • Paper Wasp||

    Derp, it's Seattle, I don't think you want to see the tits.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The bulk of that take is earmarked for the city's years-long campaign against homelessness.

    Correction, too-chilly, the city doesn't have campaign "against homelessness". They have a well structured and powerful homelessness industrial complex that thrives on a higher homeless headcount. They don't want the problem to go away, it's been one of the biggest cash cows for the city in decades.

  • BYODB||


    Jeff Bezos is a bully," the city council's resident overt socialist, Kshama Sawant, huffed in response.


    Careful Bezos, you know what her type do to Kulaks and wreckers, right?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    If Bezos wants to launch a car into space, I know who I want strapped inside.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Bezos figured that because he toes the progressive line on other issues he would be safe. Obviously, he didn't study the French Revolution or Leninism or Stalinism.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    I think the problem is that they haven't mandated solar panels on all new housing yet. They're letting California beat them to economic Armageddon.

  • soldiermedic76||

    No, but they have managed to destroy the natural beauty around the Columbia Gorge by putting up tons of windmills.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Seattle's leftists have serious Amazon Derangement Syndrome (ADS). It's just mind-boggling. The cognitive dissonance is flesh-melting. They all order from Amazon, but preen and bluster on social media about "shopping small, local businesses" when they probably do that once every month or two, in reality. They rant about how Amazon's a greedy slave-driver and how "cruel" Amazon is to expect actual hard work for good wages from warehouse employees even as they're ordering stuff from them. They cluck and sigh about Amazon Go and automated kiosks taking grocery-store jobs, then line up outside Amazon Go the next day. There's a columnist for local commie rag The Stranger, Charles Mudede, who literally writes nothing else but of his malignant ADS and how Amazon and its hipsters and gentrification are ruining the bum-piss-covered streets and burnt-out crackhouses he used to enjoy. The leftists blame Amazon for spiking the rents and destroying the city's "character" while they're busy bitching to their council reps that their neighbors should be prevented from building pretty much anything.

    It would serve every last one of these bitches right if Amazon left town.

  • k2000k||

    It's funny you mention this as I've heard through the local grape vine that a certain major Seattle developer has purchased properties in the eastside (the local term that refer to the suburb cities on the other side of the large lake that borders the east of Seattle of which it includes the city of Redmond where Microsoft is located) that could potentially yield hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space if developed for offices.

    Makes one wonder if something is brewing already.

  • Paper Wasp||

    From your mouth to Dog's ears. I would enjoy the hell out of this development. Vive la Amazon Exodus.

  • Sevo||

    "They all order from Amazon, but preen and bluster on social media about "shopping small, local businesses" when they probably do that once every month or two, in reality."

    When Mackey pointed out that O-care sucked, there was a lot of noise in SF about boycotting Whole Foods.
    A LOT of noise. And the same crowds at the stores.

  • Rossami||

    re: ""Jeff Bezos is a bully".

    I wanted to say something pithy like "Pot, meet Kettle" but the truth is that this is a full-blown case of projection. Bezos is advocating for himself and his company. Sawant is the one behaving as a bully.

  • Rossami||

    Okay, I'm stumped. What did Reason change in their commenting system and how do they want us to create hyperlinks these days? Is it not < a href=path > anymore?

  • BYODB||

    < a href="thisisyouraddress.com" >Hyperlink text< /A >

  • Mad Al||

    Am I the only one who hopes that Amazon pulls a Cartman? "Screw you guys, I'm going home." As he takes his ball....

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    In a free country, conservatives are welcome to figure that modern, successful communities such as Seattle should emulate the depleted, can't-keep-up backwaters that right-wingers and their stale, authoritarian thinking have built from Mississippi to Alabama, Oklahoma to Wyoming, and central Pennsylvania to Hillsboro, Ohio.

    Our modern, successful, educated communities are unlikely to seek pointers from conservatives and Republicans in this context, however. I blame education.

  • XM||

    Your "modern, successful" communities owes most of its jobs and revenues from the likes of Amazon and Wall Street. Without them, the leftist communities are reduced to Detroit, Chicago, or Venezuela.

    The bulk of the democrat voters are poor and among the least educated in the country. You think some illiterate kid loitering on the streets or a juvenile delinquent are some future republican voters? They live in poverty while the wealthy liberals who own most of the wealth live swanky lives in gated communities.

    What's gonna happen to Seattle if Amazon says "FUCK YOU" and leaves? What if other tech companies join in the exodus. Yeah, let's see your educated and successful community try to raise revenues and jobs.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Amazon wants to succeed, so it wants educated, modern, tolerant, accomplished, reality-based workers -- not conservatives.

    Sorry, goobers. Maybe those coal mines Trump promised will be hiring, or those steel mills he promised will be built.

    I wouldn't wager my family's future on it, though.,

  • k2000k||

    Except that they are hiring and they are being built, or rather, reopened.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Shhh don't tell him the fastest growing areas for tech are red states such as Texas and North Dakota.

  • Sevo||

    "Shhh don't tell him the fastest growing areas for tech are red states such as Texas and North Dakota."

    You think lefty assholes like that care about facts? Ha!

  • XM||

    And yet, Amazon and tech companies aren't shy about hiring guest workers from India, which can be fairly described as very conservative.

    Of course you sort of went off on a tangent because you have no reply to my point. Most uneducated people in this country are either democrats or subscribe to their worldview. The predominantly white male progressives who work in tech represent maybe 1% of the entire democrat base.

    But tell me, Rev, why does a company that value progressive values so much pick a fight with a progressive / socialist city council who wants to raise taxes on them to solve the homeless issue? Who would a BUSINESS do that? Why that sounds almost....... conservative to me.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Your lengthy string of smug ad hominems aside, Reverend...is what Seattle's doing reducing homelessness or solving any of the city's problems? It sounds like you assume it must be effective, just because the proponents of the head tax are far to the left. Are any of the city's far-left policies relieving homelessness or high housing costs? Have they done so, over the last 20-30 years? Would the problems still exist if the "modern, successful" Tesla limousine liberal policies had succeeded?

    Is fighting another tax that will be wasted "stale" and "authoritarian"? Something tells me you're lazily deploying a false dichotomy.

  • Curly4||

    "An employee hours tax is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every person for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities within the City," . . .

    Does this mean that the employee will have to pay it? This phrase . . . shall be collected collected from every person . . . indicates that the employee has to pay it. If it was to be an employer tax then it would have said something like the following . . . the employer will be charged a employee tax of ______ for every employee that employer has.
    Keep up the good work Seattle we need lots of good citizen workers all along the southern border especially in the state of TX. TX has already had hundreds of thousands of workers and a good number of companies to move to it from other high tax states. There is no income tax there and the sale tax is only 8.25% with food excluded and property taxes is also a lot lower. And that burned out house that was advertised in California for $800,000 there one could buy a large mansion or a fairly large ranch. The gasoline prices are about a dollar lower that it is on parts of the west cost also.
    Also several other states form Florida to Arizona has also added lots of people and companies.

  • k2000k||

    ""Jeff Bezos is a bully," the city council's resident overt socialist, Kshama Sawant, huffed in response."

    Yet another example of leftists projecting

  • Art Gecko||

    "...the city spent more than $53 million on the homeless in 2017. Although millions have been spent, Seattle's homeless population continues to rise."

    Sounds like the homeless know where the handouts are and are flocking to Seattle. Do you think the city council makes the connection? Somehow, I doubt it.

  • Sevo||

    Well, they've got a lot of competition from San Fran:

    "SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With San Francisco spending nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on the homeless every year, many are asking how there are still thousands of people living on the street.
    The size of the annual homeless budget — $241 million per year — also has residents wondering where that money goes and how the system might be improved."

  • tommhan||

    Companies should move to the business friendly south.

  • leninsmummy||

    Amazon should just build itself a private city. I bet it could, too.

  • vek||

    That was one of the proposals from a smaller city before the narrowed down the list. I think it was somewhere in the south. A county basically said they could have a huge chunk of land and their own city government. I guess Bezos kept the ego in check and will just move somewhere more business friendly that already exists.

  • DrZ||

    Does this mean that Bezos is going to dump his progressive ideals?

    Justwundering.

  • Eric Schmidt||

    They might have to compensate their employees more highly in Texas, because people like living in Seattle a lot more than they do Texas. Unsurprisingly, maintaining the quality of life that makes Seattle more attractive is more expensive.

    The ubiquitous "best places to live" magazine articles in the 80s and 90s celebrated Seattle for its affordability and natural beauty. The natural beauty has been compromised by rampant development in every direction. Natural views shared by neighborhoods and access to waterfront are gone.

    Anyone who is not a homeowner in the upper middle class lives with economic anxiety.

    Which, for the rest of us, is very close to Seattle when our economy was depressed over decades. But then, there was no homelessness.

    Then the city was far more beautiful. A waiter could afford the art museum and the symphony. The streets were not lined with niche stores for the luxe market. You could find an apartment almost anywhere, quite often with a stunning view of the mountains or Puget Sound, even if you lived on minimum wage.

    Maybe I'm incautious, but I'd love to see what would happen here if all the wealthy transplants and their employers took a hike.

  • RPGuy16||

    It's Econ 101 that if you tax something you get less of it. Seattle chooses to tax hours worked. Very telling.

  • RPGuy16||

    It's Econ 101 that if you tax something you get less of it. Seattle chooses to tax hours worked. Very telling.

  • RPGuy16||

    It's Econ 101 that if you tax something you get less of it. Seattle chooses to tax hours worked. Very telling.

  • RPGuy16||

    It's Econ 101 that if you tax something you get less of it. Seattle chooses to tax hours worked. Very telling.

  • gphx||

    "An employee hours tax is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every person for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities within the City"

    Earning a living a.k.a. 'pursuit of happiness' is now a 'privilege' practiced by the 'privileged' instead of an inherent right.

    The city council is exercising 'privilege' by keeping all those copies of the Constitution to wipe their own asses with instead of handing them out to the homeless.

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