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 Post subject: Re: Idiots of the world unite!
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:38 am 
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The latest in tax increases in Seattle: ... employers/

Seattle City Council votes 9-0 for scaled-down head tax on large employers

Originally published May 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm Updated May 14, 2018 at 9:20 pm

The legislation calls for a tax of $275 per employee, per year on for-profit companies that gross at least $20 million per year in the city — down from a $500-per-head tax that Mayor Jenny Durkan had threatened to veto.

By Matt Day and Daniel Beekman
Seattle Times staff reporters

After a weekend of high-stakes negotiations between Seattle City Council members and Mayor Jenny Durkan, the council voted unanimously Monday to tax the city’s largest employers to help address homelessness.

Starting next year, the tax will be $275 per employee, per year on for-profit companies that gross at least $20 million per year in the city — down from a $500-per-head proposal that Durkan threatened to veto.

The city declared a homelessness state of emergency in late 2015. A point-in-time count last year tallied more than 11,600 homeless people in King County and one in 16 Seattle Public Schools students is homeless.

“We have community members who are dying,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said before the 9-0 vote. “They are dying on our streets today because there is not enough shelter” and affordable housing.

In a statement after the vote and weeks of fierce debate, demonstrations and denunciations, she said the tax “will have a meaningful impact on addressing our homelessness crisis by building housing and providing health services.”

Having paused construction planning on an office tower over the larger proposal, Amazon now will move ahead with it, a spokesman said after the vote. But the company’s plans to occupy a skyscraper under construction are still up the air, he said.

“We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement.

“While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, 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.”

Council members were working on the deal past midnight Sunday, and council staff postponed Mother’s Day plans to assist, they said. On the line: money to house struggling people, Seattle’s reputation as a tech-boom town and the city’s political soul.

About 3 percent of Seattle businesses will be taxed, raising about $47 million per year, according to the council.

The larger proposal would have raised $86 million annually, according to a council estimate Monday, based on updated data from the city’s budget office.

The council ordinance calls for the tax to end after five years, with renewal requiring a council vote in 2023.

With more than 45,000 employees in the city, Amazon could pay more than $10 million per year. Some proponents of the measure used the slogan “tax Amazon,” arguing the e-commerce behemoth owed Seattle help with its affordability problem.

Other companies set to be taxed include Starbucks, The Seattle Times and longtime, family-owned supermarket Uwajimaya.

The tax that won approval is much smaller than the proposal that had been under consideration for many weeks and that was vehemently opposed by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The compromise
For months, Durkan left council members to drive the public discussion. But a 5-4 council split over the $500-per-head proposal raised the prospect she could exercise her veto power and forced her to engage.

A new law needs six votes to override a mayoral veto.

On one side were homeless advocates, service-worker unions and voters looking for Seattle to do more to help vulnerable people. On the other were business leaders, construction-worker unions and voters critical of how City Hall has been spending money.

Amazon contributed $350,000 this past year to a business group that supported Durkan’s mayoral campaign.

At Monday’s council meeting, some in the crowd waved signs that read “housing first,” while others countered with signs that read “results first.”

In the end, Durkan pushed for the smaller tax. She plans to sign the legislation, she said Monday.

Under the original proposal, the city would have switched from a head tax to a 0.7 percent payroll tax in 2021 — a change to help low-margin businesses with many modestly paid workers, such as supermarkets. Under the approved ordinance, there will be no payroll tax.

“We saw what happens when we come together, sit down together, and work together — we can find common ground and get things done,” Durkan said in a statement.

Activists who spent months lobbying for a head tax on large employers hailed the council’s action.

“Is this bill everything we hoped for? No. Is it a major step forward? Absolutely,” the Transit Riders Union said in an email to supporters.

Working Washington, a union-backed advocacy group that accused Amazon of felony intimidation last week over the company’s planning pause, also applauded the vote.

“Seattle refused to knuckle under,” the group said in an email.

Amazon will resume planning for its Block 18 tower and continue weighing whether to sublease the space in the Rainier Square skyscraper, Herdener said. Before the tax debate, the retail giant had been expecting the two buildings to accommodate about 7,000 employees.

In a biting statement, a Starbucks spokesman accused city leaders of failing to spend effectively on homelessness and ignoring children sleeping outside.

“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,” said John Kelly, the company’s top public-affairs executive.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant cast the only “no” vote Monday on an amendment that reduced the size of the tax but joined her colleagues approving the overall measure. She mentioned the immense wealth Amazon has created for CEO Jeff Bezos, who recently became the world’s richest person and is worth an estimated $130 billion.

“There is no way this tax will be a burden on big businesses in Seattle,” Sawant said, slamming the mayor for siding with “Amazon billionaires.”

How money will be spent
Along with the tax Monday, the council approved a nonbinding resolution that calls for spending 66 percent of the new money on affordable housing, 32 percent on emergency shelter, trash pickup, raises for service workers and other needs, and 2 percent on administration.

The plan says the revenue could help build 591 units of low-income housing over five years — down from 1,700 units slated under the $500-per-head tax.

An effort by Sawant to prohibit any of the revenue from being spent on sweeps of unauthorized homeless encampments was voted down 8-1.

In a news conference after the council acted, Durkan expressed dissatisfaction with the council’s spending plan. The mayor wants a greater percentage of the money spent on emergency options and on addressing street encampments.

Durkan stressed the city must be transparent with Seattle residents about how the revenue is spent. She said she would create an oversight committee to monitor that.

“As a city we have to know that our strategies are going to work,” the mayor said, also calling on King County and state lawmakers to “step up and shoulder their fair share” in dealing with homelessness.

Homeless-services workers and unions representing supermarket and hotel workers, among others, supported the larger tax proposal, which was sponsored by Councilmembers Mosqueda, M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold and Mike O’Brien.

They said companies such as Amazon have contributed to homelessness because their highly paid employees have sent rents and home prices soaring.

“We could not find the votes we needed,” a disappointed O’Brien said before voting for the smaller proposal.

González said she was in regular contact with Durkan over the weekend and had “a couple of work sessions with her and her staff.”

The council member said she had hoped to be voting “on a different package” with more money, but “I’m glad to be able to finally move this forward.”

Construction-worker unions worried about losing work building for Amazon opposed the larger tax, as did Council President Bruce Harrell, Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Debora Juarez and Rob Johnson. Some business leaders said the city should instead ease zoning restrictions to allow more new housing.

Though Seattle’s population grew 11 percent from 2012 to 2016, its government spending rose much faster, even accounting for inflation.

The city budgeted $63 million for homeless programs and will invest more than $100 million in affordable housing this year.

“The city does not have a revenue problem — it has a spending efficiency problem,” Herdener said in his statement for Amazon.

Johnson called the $275-per-head tax a “reasonable compromise that will allow us to make real progress.”

Staff reporter Vianna Davila contributed to this report. Daniel Beekman: 206-464-2164 or; on Twitter @dbeekman.

And here I thought that when Seattle passed their $15/hr minimum wage back in 2015 that would have ended or at least severely reduced incidents of homelessness.

Adding a $275 per employee per year tax may result in some Seattle employers either not increasing their employee base within the city boundaries or moving existing worksites to the suburbs.

Fewer jobs will likely result in MORE homelessness.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
- misattributed to Alexis De Tocqueville

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 Post subject: Re: Idiots of the world unite!
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:24 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Idiots of the world unite!
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:31 pm 
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NefariousKoel wrote:


Anthro's NSFW Thread

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 Post subject: Re: Idiots of the world unite!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 2:04 am 
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Last Year Seattle Cut Ties With Wells Fargo Over The Dakota Access Pipeline, But No One Else Wanted Their Business

JOHN SEXTONPosted at 7:21 pm on May 16, 2018

It was big news when Seattle’s far-left city council cut ties with Wells Fargo in February 2017. The city became the first in the nation to cut ties with a bank over the bank’s involvement in funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. But today, Seattle reversed course and signed a three-year agreement with Wells Fargo for banking services. Why? No other bank was willing to take their business. From KUOW:

Breaking up is hard — especially if you’re a city trying to break up with a bank.

Especially if the other banks aren’t all that interested in dating you…

The city council resolved to find a new financial institution before ending the Wells Fargo contract at the end of 2018. But this week, City Finance Director Glen Lee gave them an update on the search for a bank.

“The reality is, none wanted to participate and bid for our services, and given the time it takes to shift to a new service, we felt it was prudent for the city to move forward,” Lee said.

To really appreciate how embarrassing this is, you need to look back at the celebration and back-patting that took place last year when the city voted to dump Wells Fargo. Komo News reported there were cheers after the unanimous vote:

The crowd erupted in cheers and chanted “water is life” when the council unanimously passed the measure, which directs officials to end the city’s contract with the San Francisco-based bank once it expires in 2018 and not to make new investments in Wells Fargo securities for three years.

“The example that we have set today can become a beacon of hope” for activists across the country, said Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who co-sponsored the legislation…

“You have been a city setting the example to the world and I look to you to do that now,” Olivia One Feather, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, told the council. “When big cities such as this do the right thing, it sparks hope in the world.”

Councilwoman Sawant, who was so proud of being a “beacon of hope,” is the socialist who led the campaign for Seattle’s head tax and who led the previous campaign for a $15 per hour minimum wage. She’s a real treasure.

To be fair, it probably didn’t help that 11 other major banks were also involved in funding the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline, including Bank of America, CitiBank, Chase, etc. Ultimately, there are a limited number of institutions prepared to handle an account like Seattle’s. Maybe they should have thought about that before the vote?

Below is a video of progressives celebrating the big win. If only there was a video of them crawling back to Wells Fargo in desperation. Can you imagine how that meeting went? Um, I know we told you to pound sand and insinuated you were morally offensive as an institution, but can we hire you again?

[video at above link]


So last year Seattle goes all virtue signally and cuts ties with Wells Fargo over the Dakota Pipeline...and now they have to come crawling back because NO OTHER BANK IS WILLING/ABLE TO REPLACE THE SERVICES THAT THEY RECEIVED FROM WELLS. :mrgreen:

PS: Seattle hasn't given up completely:
In the meantime, city staff are studying the idea of a municipal bank, which Lee said Mayor Jenny Durkan supports. That idea was proposed at the state level in the past, but never gathered steam. City staff want to hire a consultant, possibly in conjunction with other Washington cities, to set up a public bank.

Cities such as San Francisco and L.A. have also considered municipal banking, but only North Dakota and Native American tribes currently have their own banks. ... more-years

I wish them luck.
Once they draw up their list of SJW requirements for their banking institution AND compare those to state & national banking law requirements regarding the creation and running of a bank, they might be in for another disappointment.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
- misattributed to Alexis De Tocqueville

No representations made as to the accuracy of info in posted news articles or links

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