Seattle, Wa. — A new tax aimed at forcing local businesses to pay for homeless services and affordable housing has caused even some of liberal Seattle’s most progressive companies to speak out in anger.
Starbucks and Amazon, both based in Seattle, are blasting the new tax, claiming they should not be forced to pay for city’s poor management of funds.
“The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem,” Drew Herdener, Amazon vice president, said in a statement. “We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.”
The tax, which was passed by the Seattle City Council on Monday, aims to tax businesses making at least $20 million in gross revenues about $275 per full-time worker per year. The “head tax” is expected to raise about $48 million — which authorities say will be used for housing and homeless services.
“We have community members who are dying,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said before the vote. “They are dying on our streets today because there is not enough shelter.”
Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez responded harshly to Amazon’s criticism Tuesday, saying “their tone in this message that is clearly hostile toward the city council is not what I expect from a business who continues to tell us that they want to be a partner on these issues.”
But even uber-liberal Starbucks, a company that has made a name out of promoting leftist causes, has come out swinging against the tax, saying it has “no faith” that the city will utilize the funds to best serve the needs of the homeless.
“If they cannot 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,” Starbucks’ John Kelly said in a statement.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the U.S. in 2017, despite the city spending $68 million on combating homelessness last year.
A predominant cause of homelessness in the city, reports show, is drug use and government dependence.