Starbucks slams Seattle's new big business tax

15 May, 2018, 22:37 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • King County Executive Dow Constantine delivers the 2017 State of the County address in Auburn

Following a weekend of negotiations between Seattle City Council members and Mayor Jenny Durkan, the council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a new tax on the city's largest employers to help address homelessness.

After the Seattle City Council vote on Monday, the Transit Riders Union, which is affiliated with the Housing for All Coalition, said the new tax would begin alleviating the city's housing crisis.

For Seattle's liberal City Council, the discussion Monday centered not so much on whether there should be a head tax but how big it should be.

Even though the company made a decision to resume one of its building projects, Drew Herdener, an Amazon vice president, said in a statement, "We remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council's hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here".

Durkan also took to Twitter after the head tax passed, stating there will be accountability and oversight regarding how the new revenue is spent, and that includes forming an oversight committee, hiring an economist and making sure people are exiting homelessness. Free for 14 days - no credit card required!

The head tax has ignited something of an existential debate for Seattle over its monumental growth. The tax that made it across the finish line is actually smaller than the original proposal the city was considering.

Other cities have implemented similar taxes, but critics say Seattle's tax could threaten the booming local economy and drive away jobs.

Pak Terrorists behind 26/11 attacks: Ex Pak PM Sharif
Sharif further said, "It's absolutely unacceptable (to allow non-state actors to cross the border and commit terrorism there). Sharif admitted that Pakistan has "isolated" itself and the country's "narrative" is no longer accepted across the world.

WATCH: Is head tax the right solution?

Herdener then turned the tables, suggesting the people holding the city's purse strings are the problem. Almost 600 employers - about 3 percent of all Seattle businesses - would pay the tax starting in 2019. "If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable address or opiate addiction".

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, a bill sponsor, said the revenue isn't enough to fully address the problem given the city's dire needs and human suffering but it was "the strongest proposal" they could put forward given the veto threat.

John Kelly, senior vice president, Global Public Affairs & Social Impact at Starbucks, blasted the proposal in a statement released by the company.

"City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8B in 2010 to $4.2B in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018".

"They're driving this economic engine", he said.

Overall, around three percent of Seattle businesses will be hit by the tax, which is set to last for five years. "We are highly uncertain whether the City Council's anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better", Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement. Separately, the company has committed more than $40 million to two groups: the Mary's Place shelters for homeless families, including space in company buildings; and the FareStart non-profit organization for homeless and disadvantaged men, women, and kids, including space and equipment for FareStart restaurants.

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