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'Shameless Capitulation to Amazon': Seattle Lawmakers Repeal Tax Aimed at Tackling Homelessness


'Shameless Capitulation to Amazon': Seattle Lawmakers Repeal Tax Aimed at Tackling Homelessness

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

The people of Seattle rose up in protest on Tuesday as the Seattle City Council caved to Amazon's "corporate bullying" and voted to repeal a recently-approved tax on local businesses that aimed to help alleviate the city's homelessness crisis.


Seattle voters must target those “Shameless Seven.”

Those elected officials that do not represent the will of the people, must be retired permanently from public office.

Make an example of those 7 Seattle, for the whole nation to see.


Strange, if I read other articles, such as at Reuters https://www.reuters.com/article/us-seattle-tax/seattle-city-council-repeals-head-tax-weeks-after-enactment-idUSKBN1J82UB they note that

Opponents had already collected nearly 46,000 signatures from voters in
support of a repeal initiative, well more than the 17,000 needed to
qualify for the ballot, according to the Downtown Seattle Association, a
business group which led the petition drive.

Sounds to me like the elected officials didn’t represent the will of the people when they passed the measure in the first place.


Sounds to me like Amazon had an army of paid signature gathers. I will love to see this on a November ballot. Amazon will lose. Gathering signatures does on represent the Will of the People.


Another slice of Fascist Pie.


It’s not going to come to a vote - the City Council is repealing it.


So 46,000 represent the 725,000 people who live in Seattle or are they zealots like Tea Party members? This is such typical thinking by people like you - the enlightened minority (property owners and white males) should make all the decisions for the rest of us. Sorry but we are on to your thinking and game and this is a democracy with a constitution not a libertarian paradise where the rich and powerful can do whatever they want.


why put something to a vote of the people when a small group of “enlightened” leaders can make our decisions? “Englightened” means those that have been enlightend by the wealthy and powerful. That is the thinking of the right wing neo-liberal revolution. Just ask Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.


amazon is a monopoly driver and in the end that will not be a good thing for the country or consumers. It all looks good now but down the road it won’t look so good. What they are trying to do now in Seattle will only get worse and happen all over the country. Amazon wants a democracy of one where it makes all the decisions.


Yes, all one has to do is look at Walmart and all of the damage it has done to communities through out the country. But it is not only the damage to locally owned retail business, product vendors and general monopolization but the corrosion of our government at all levels as they kowtow to the wants of these behemoths.

I think the laws are there to stop this but we have people in government now who refuse to use the laws available. Mulvaney at the CFPB is a prime example and is actually a traitor to the constitution and the law but who is bringing him to task?


Just to show how Amazon operates and how their “Business Efficiencies” are premised on waste, This is Capitalism in a nutshell , an absolutely destructive economic system that fuels environmental destruction.

As reported by German media, Amazon employees described destroying tens of thousands of euros’ worth of retail items every day, while other workers noted that not only unsaleable products, but many in ‘as-new’ or even brand new condition were disposed of, with little effort to reuse, leading many to accuse the online sales behemoth of spectacular corporate irresponsibility.

Both Vancouver BC and Seattle Washington like to proclaim that they are GREEN Cities yet are all too welcoming of the Amazons of the world because of the jobs they claim they will create.


Although Seattle’s head tax was intended to fund unspecified programs to benefit the homeless, looking at the big picture, until there is a uniform nationwide program to benefit the homeless, state and local efforts will continue to result in further increases in homelessness.

Ever since I was a kid in the SF area more than a half century ago a big part of the homeless programs throughout most of Murka has been to buy their homeless one way bus tickets to Seattle, Portland, SF, LA and other west coast cities. That will continue until there is a uniform nationwide program.


I think the biggest problem with homelessness has been the cuts in HUD funding since the Reagan neo-liberal revolution of the 1980s. Billions upon billions have been taken out of HUD funding, the Section 8 voucher program, etc, etc. Most of the local housing authorities have been gutted and nothing new built for decades. Of course public housing got bad because the government stopped putting money to maintain them in the right way. Residents got tired of nothing being done and in some instance elevators being out in high rise buildings and things just got trashed. I think well funded public housing that is maintained would work well. That is not what the neo-liberals want. They want to create situations where things will get run down and then they will turn around and blame the people living there. The same thing has happened in low income areas primed for redevelopment. The governments would let the areas run down and then when it got bad, the politicians would bring in their crony real estate developer supporters to re-develop and gentrify. It is a real disgrace the way this country operates.


Well, gosh golly. I live in a medium sized city, million or so people. We sent a petition around calling for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the collectivization of all land here. We got 30,000 signatures too, in a city of a million. Clearly, the bourgeois city council here is ignoring the will of the people, at least the only people I want to pretend exist.


One of my new favorite podcasters, Jamarl Thomas, has some analysis:

But seriously:


Corporations that have more money and power than most nations and states should not be allowed to exist. They are sociopathic fascism.


That’s not true though, at least from my perspective it isn’t. A property can go up in value because of improvements to the property, and it can go up in value because of its location, its proximity to development. If a property goes up in value simply because it is in an area where lots of development is happening, people are moving in, and land values are increasing, or because of proximity to infrastructure and transportation networks, then the property owner didn’t do anything to earn the appreciating property value. That development is due to the community on the whole, so why shouldn’t a community recoup that value that it helped to create? JS Mill, a 19th century economist, pointed out that land rent allowed land owners to make money “in their sleep”, and that is what seems to dominate local politics now. Local governments could tax away that value and use it to fund needed programs, which could include affordable housing, but they are choosing to allow property owners to capture the entirety of the appreciating property values. Land developers and lobbyists from the FIRE sector own these people. It is another form of class war. In the UK, when they build a rail line, they often put a tax on properties near there that will appreciate in value. They tax at least a portion of the rent, which leaves less to the property owner and would lower the cost of living in particular areas. If a rent, or a good chunk of the rent, was taxed away then housing and rental prices could decrease. Another issue is property owners fighting against increased density and more housing because they are afraid of the impact those things will have on their property values. Again, class war.


Amazon is a a life member of the oligopoly.

Oligopoly (definition)
the market condition that exists when there are few sellers, as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors.
Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/oligopoly?s=t


Please, Amazon, stay away from Pittsburgh. A very large majority of Pittsburgh’s residents do NOT want Amazon here - yet they had no say in the city’s secret, but almost certainly massively concessionary offer to/extortion by Amazon from the groveling Mayor Peduto and his Rich Tech Friends. And they will have no say over what Amazon does to the city should they come here.


As I mentioned in the other thread on this topic. I think a key problem here is the state laws that prevent any kind of reasonable tax structure in Seattle. Washington State law does not allow cities to impose an income tax, a capital gains tax, or a corporate income tax. By having to rely on sales tax to raise funds for services (another law limits property tax increases to 1% per year), the city is forced into an extremely regressive tax system. Those state laws put Seattle in the position of having the most regressive tax system of any major city in the country (see for example: http://www.eoionline.org/inclusive-economy/who-really-pays-an-analysis-of-the-tax-structures-in-15-cities-throughout-washington-state/ ).

This is not because of the will of the people in Seattle but because local control is only supported by Republicans when they control the locations.

In terms of how the council backed down here on the “head tax”, perhaps Amazon’s $350,000 donation to Mayor Durkan’s campaign played a role as well.