Seattle's war on business won't help combat homelessness

Seattle Approves Tax of $275 Per Employee Per Year on Rich Companies Including Amazon

As such, many homeless individuals are bounced from place to place, or forced to live on the street while seeking affordable housing within the city.

Median rents have doubled since 2010, according to real estate firm Zillow, and the area has the third highest homeless population in the nation, according to US government statistics.

But the affected large business groups, about 600 employers that have in turn benefited by Seattle's economic boom, have opposed the legislation and have even threatened the council.

The company, which employs more than 45,000 people in Seattle, responded by saying it was shelving two big real-estate projects in the city that would hold more than 7,000 employees pending the outcome of the council vote.

Amazon, one of the largest employers in Seattle, has opposed the new tax from the start.

The company has resumed work on one of the real estate projects it paused, Herdener said, adding, "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".

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For Seattle's liberal City Council, the discussion centered not so much on whether there should be a head tax but how big it should be. "This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period".

"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", said John Kelly, Starbucks' senior vice president of global public affairs and social impact.

Amazon has suggested the city's coffers have grown in recent years and Starbucks, meanwhile, is suggesting the city has a spending problem. "Unfortunately, when the city of Seattle proposed a modest, progressive tax on big corporations to fund housing affordability and homelessness initiatives, Amazon chose to be part of the problem and not the solution".

"People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity".

A day after the Seattle City Council approved the tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman wrote this blog. Thanks to politicians' sympathetic ear when it comes to the plight of the rich, Amazon will pocket an estimated $789 million this year, easily offsetting the $10 million it'll pay Seattle to improve the city it calls home.

About 1,000 people move to the area every week, according to U.S. Census data, putting it among the nation's fastest growing cities. I've heard Seattle loud and clear: they want basic services delivered and are concerned whether the City of Seattle is using their money wisely, efficiently, and responsibly. Shannon Brown, who lives in a home at a homeless encampment in south Seattle, supported the measure. "I don't understand why businesses think it's wrong to help".

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