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Here are the Capitol Hill and Central District owners joining ‘301 small businesses’ speaking out against Seattle ’employment tax’ recommendations

Dani Cone of Cone and Steiner — and Fuel — made the list… twice (Image: CHS)

With a task force recommending a $75 million a year Seattle business tax for housing and homelessness services, a collection of “301 small businesses from every part of the city and every sector of the economy” has sent a letter to the City Council asking them not to move forward with the recommendation.

Several Capitol Hill and Central District businesses, highlighted in bold by CHS below, appear on the roster in the effort touted as “a purely organic grass roots effort and not organized by any one business association or advocacy group.”

“Small businesses across the city are writing to you today to urge you to reconsider the recommendations from the Progressive Revenue Taskforce on the Employee Hours Tax and any consideration of a proposed Employee Hours Tax legislation on Seattle businesses,” the letter begins. “We are disappointed that once again small business leaders were never consulted for input, facts or information about the real challenges we face.”

A Seattle Progressive Revenue Task Force finalized its set of recommendations earlier this month for a so-called “head tax” that could raise $75 million a year to help create housing and provide homelessness services. The final recommendations released March 9th pushes the amount the city should raise to an estimated $150 million — $75 million of which would come from a per-employee tax. “We believe it is imperative to raise a substantial amount of revenue -– enough to make a measurable and significant impact on the crisis –- so that the community sees tangible results from this new investment,” the task force report reads. “People are tired of half-measures and want to see real progress.”

The task force chaired by council members Lorena González and Lisa Herbold  included a mix of affordability and homelessness service advocates and business representatives. In its report, the task force suggests a set of variables for the council to consider as it shapes the final legislation and the filters for which businesses will be included in the tax including possible gross revenue thresholds the City Council could ultimately set in its final legislation.

A Seattle Housing Gap meeting in February was centered around how best to put the revenue from the tax to use.

The task force’s inclusion of a recommendation for a possible $395 annual “skin in the game” alternative tax rate for “employers under the gross revenue threshold” what would “still be required to pay some relatively small amount” seems to have drawn particular ire from the business representatives who signed onto the letter to the council.

“The discussion that small businesses needed a ‘skin in the game’ fee of $395 reflects no appreciation for our reality or for the burden that affordability and rising taxes and fees puts on us,” the business reps write. The full letter can be found here.

Capitol Hill and Central District-area owners and representatives on the list include the long established and the new. Some appear twice, puffing up the number of participants — Dani Cone is listed for both her Fuel Cafe and for Cone and Steiner. Other Hill signees are more understated like Joey Burgess who is listed with Guild Seattle, the holding company behind Pike/Pine hotspots in the Lost Lake Cafe family of businesses. It’s an eclectic group including merchants like Karyn Schwartz of Sugarpill, 11th Ave rehearsal and recording space Crybaby Studios operator Leigh Stone, and Kari Brunson of plant-based ice cream shop Frankie and Jo’s and 12th Ave cafe Juicebox. UPDATE 3/17/18: Brunson tells CHS that she is not “for or against” the tax and did not sign the letter.

“We urge the City Council to slow down, engage with more stakeholders, and work toward creating a feasible regional plan with the State and County, before seeking revenue,” the business owner letter concludes.

The city council is expected to take up the recommendations and begin shaping the tax legislation this month.

UPDATE 4/2/2018: Prefer your information in menu format? Here’s a Central Staff Memo prepared at City Hall to help council members sort out the options as the final legislation proposal comes together:

The full roster of signees is below.

1 Joe Fugere Tutta Bella, Small Business Advisory Council Co-Chair
2 Taylor Hoang Pho Cylo Café, Small Business Advisory Council Co-Chair
3 Tracy Taylor Elliott Bay Book Co, Small Business Advisory Council Co-Chair
4 Donna Moodie Marjorie Restaurants, Small Business Advisory Council Co-Chair
5 Zach Euse Exact Electric LLC                           
6 Lee Ching Tran Viet Wah Group
7 Alejandro Crisafi Fit 36
8 Andy Wagenbrenner The Mailbox
9 Angela Cough Flying Apron
10 Angela Rae Kick It Boots
11 Bella Sangar
12 Brian Anderson Quail Park Memory Care Residence of West Seattle
13 Brian Pelzel Blue Plate Digital
14 Brian Wells Tougo Coffee
15 Bruce Butterfield Real Estate Broker
16 Camilla Poage Eyre and Fini
17 Christy McDanold Secret Garden Bookstore
18 Dan Wiseman Wiseman’s Appliances
19 Diana Naramore Sip and Ship
20 Diane Bundrant His Word Found Here
21 Diane Macrae Venue Ballard
22 Emily Mabus Other Coast Cafe
23 Evan Anders Columbia City Bakery
24 Francine Katz & Peter Riches Lucca Great Finds
25 Jamie Jockwig Baraa Gemstones and Jewelry
26 Jeffry Silva Real Estate Broker
27 Joni Buckner Head to Toe Day Spa & Skincare
28 Kari Brunson Jukebox and Frankie and Joe’s 
29 Karyn Schwartz The Sugar Pill
30 Kirk Keppler Wyatt’s Jewelers
31 Kristie & Peter Kisby Annie’s Art & Frame
32 Lance Rosebrook Stauffer Market Street Shoes
33 Liberte Liberte Liberte Beauty
34 Lisa Renoe Chocolate Krak
35 Lynn Sweeney Dearnborn Lumber Co
36 Lynn Sweeney Alki Lumber & Hardware
37 Lynn Sweeney The Grove West Seattle
38 Maggie & Leigh Burns Re-Soul
39 Manuel Alfau Bodega
40 Marcia Chittenden Chittenden House Bed and Breakfast
41 Marjorie and Mark Fuller Ma’ano
42 Marshall Jett Verachi Pizza
43 Nicole Vandermeulen Chameleon design
44 Randy Brinker Sweet Mickey’s
45 Rebecca Barrows D’Ambrosio Gelato
46 Rob Shiras IT Headquarters
47 Sabrina Tinsley La Spiga
48 Taichi Kitamura Sushi Kappo Tamura
49 Jon and Shannon Felix Avalon Glassworks                         
50 Amy Ecklund Amy Works                                      
51 Chi Dang Than Brothers Restaurant
52 Don Riling Olympic Hot Tubs                          
53 John Moore NW Insurance Group                     
54 Louise Hansen Wezee’s Plumbing                          
55 Phuong Nguyen Hue Ky Mi Gia
56 Roy Dubrow   British Motor Coach                      
57 Valerie Myers CPA New Paradigm CFO                       
58 Nicole Curry Paris Services with a Smile                     
59 Elise Lindborg, Kelli Henderson ZippyDogs                               
60 Lien Dang Huong Binh Restaurant
61 Peddler Brewing Haley Keller
62 Scott Andersen CSR Marine
63 Heather Chitty Madres Kitchen, KitchenSisters                                                            
64 Kelly Guenther Guenther Group, Inc.                                                  
65 Barbara Grant Crux Consulting Consortium                                      
66 Nga Pham Chu Minh Tofu
67 Roy A, Hamrick, CFA Hamrick Investment Counsel, LLC
68 Jaebadiah S. Gardner GardnerGlobal, Inc.                                                     
69 Le-Uyen Dang Than Trong Restaurant
70 James A Devine DC Devine Chiropractic & Rehab Center                      
71 Diane Coyne Picket Fence Real Estate                                                           
72 John Rubino GreenRubino                                                                 
73 Michele Gomes InterChange Media Art Productions, LLC              
74 Dani Cone Fuel, Cone and Steiner, Hi Five Pie
75 George Hancock Maritime Pacific Brewing Company
76 Danielle Hilton Ada’s Technical Books
77 Lindsey Runyon  Lindsey Runyon Design and Bellefleur Lingerie
78 Liz Elkins Poquitos
79 Kathy Tran Seattle Nail Supply
80 Amanda Bedell Nuflours Bakery
81 Ross Kling  Rainbow Natural Remedies
82 Gail Stringer The Hawaii General Store & Gallery and HGS Travel
83 Annette Heide -Jessen Kaffeeklatsch
84 Tam Nguyen Thanh Tam Restaurant
85 Lara Zahaba Stoup Brewing
86 Gay Gilmore Optimism Brewing Company
87 Beto Yarce Ventures
88 I-Muin Lui Eastern Café, Oasis Coffee
89 Leigh Stone Crybaby Studios
90 David Tran Lam’s Seafood
91 Joey Burgess Guild Seattle Restaurants & Bars
92 Terry Storms DCG One
93 Diana Adams Vermillion Art Gallery. 
94 Shaiza Damji 360 Hotel Group
95 Tam Nguyen Tamarind Tree Restaurant, Long Provicial Restaurant
96 Thang Nguyen Pho So 1
97 Rob Brewster Urban Development
98 Jesse Banks Evergreen POS
99 Hung Tran Thanh Son Tofu
100 Richard Saguin Trichome LLC
101 Stan Gregg Gregg’s Cycle
102 Debbie Millard Ballard Oil Company
103 Kamala Saxton, Roz Edison Marinations
104 Cody Burns Girin restaurants
105 Rachel Marshall Rachel’s Ginger Beer
106 Todd Carden Elliott Bay Brewing Co.
107 Destiny Sund, Paul Verano The Confectional, LLC 
108 Jen Engles-Klann The Derschang Group
109 Ryan Suddendorf Evergreens
110 Tim Baker Percy’s & Co, San Fermo
111 Steven Hooper Jr. Kigo Asian Kitchen
112 Bob Donegan Kidd Valley
113 Hannah Carter, Grant Carter Bitterroot, Mammoth
114 Travis Rosenthal Tango Restaurant, Rumba, Sand Point Gril
115 Alain Bwabrey Glimexco
116 Matt Hanna Cainrcross & Hempelmann PS
117 Laurie Stewart Sound Community Bank
118 Jasmine Mac Nijo Sushi
119 Louise Little University Book Store, Inc.
120 Arvind Nerurkar Coffman Engineers, Inc
121 Susan Fondren Madrona Dog Company, LLC
122 Kayla Boehme Pipe And Row
123 Jordan Voth Tides & Pines
124 Jason Pecarich Division Road, Inc.
125 Marjie Johnson Johnson & Johnson Antiques
126 Michael Danford Pike Grocery and Deli
127 Lauren Adler Chocolopolis
128 Lara Olsha The Sweet Spot, Inc.
129 Molly Boone-Jones Seattle Custom Framing
130 Ken Oshi Teriyaki shop
131 Karla Esquivel Andaluz
132 Gayle Nowicki Gargoyles Statuary
133 Michael Ohlenroth Wall of Sound
134 Ngoc Bich Jewelry Ngoc Bich Dang
135 D. Craig Norberry Norberry Tile
136 Yuki Sodos Pettirosso & Bang Bang Café
137 Jeff Pelletier Board & Vellum
138 Hyuna Joana Chong CA Sweets LLC
139 Ryan Glant Glant Pacific Companies
140 Todd Biesold Merlino Foods
141 Carlos A. Ortiz CAZA Media
142 Lenka Mittelbach Alternative Suites International LLC
143 Amanda O’Rourke Greenwood, Ohlund & Co. LLP
144 Brad Miller Honda of Seattle / Toyota of Seattle
145 jen Crofton BrunswikSt. LLC
146 Christopher T Benis Harrison-Benis, LLP
147 Bill Weise Silver Cloud Hotel – Seattle Stadium
148 Jerry Raine Turgeon Raine Jewellers, Inc.
149 Gerald Centioli ICON Inc.
150 Chuck McKeever United Western Supply
151 annie Davis, Suzanne Royer McCone Annie’s Nannies, Inc.
152 David & Jennifer O’Neal Live Oak Audio Visual Inc.
153 Clark Shaefer MEECO Manufacturing Company, Inc.
154 Pam Pearson KCPQ-TV
155 A-P Hurd SkipStone
156 Tom Odell MHT Insurance
157 Edwin Shepherd III Shepherd Family Chiropractic
158 Steve Vincent Puget Sound Bank
159 Phil Laube, Mary Anne Petesch, James Ramborger, Sabin Pradhan, Bradley Kirschner, Jennifer Rinker, Bryson Hatch Hagen, Kurth Perman & Co.
160 Chuck Nelson Washington Athletic Club
161 Craig Schafer Hotel Andra
162 Estela Raychaudhuri InBios International Inc.
163 James Carter Carter Consulting
164 Patricia Cacabelos United Insurance Brokers Inc.
165 Anthony Ridnell International, Inc.
166 Cheryl Mangio, Julia Obien Yamaguchi Obien Mangio, LLC
167 Ben Foster Ben’s Plumbing
168 Nancy Porrino Cycling Through Clinical Research, LLC
169 Matthew Joelson Shea Staffing LLC
170 Mikkel Jacobsen Carsoe US Inc.
171 Kimberly Kean Gene Johnson Plumbing & Heating
172 Liz Dunn Dunn & Hobbes LLC
173 Melissa Bathum, Kori Monson,   Quincy Henry Freemind Seattle
174 Richard Waller United Electric Motors
175 Jeff Lewis Pacific Rim Environmental, Inc.
176 Susan Sullivan Sullivan Kennedy Consulting
177 Kathy Shingleton Virginia Mason Medical Center
178 Les Biller Harborview Capital
179 Zoehana Minkove, Chai Mann, Joy Thai Mann Fox’s Gem Shop’s Inc.
180 Stanley B McCammon Joshua Green Corporation  
181 Kandie Jennings Tom’s Automotive Service
182 Debbie Crandall Parker Staffing Services, LLC
183 Rene Neidhart Renaissance Seattle Hotel, Madison Hotel LLC
184 Charles Stempler Alphaprint Inc.
185 P. Troy Sorensen Sorensen Consulting LLC
186 Diane Geller Moan Dahlia Natural Health Clinic
187 Terence Tung Luna Kitchen and Bath
188 Bill Sechter ATLAS Workbase
189 Paul Abel Homestreet Bank
190 Adam Simon Sensibility Squared LLC
191 Ella Grogan Laboratory Design & Construction Inc.
192 Teresa Carew On Safari Foods, Inc.
193 Dave Kelly Asko Processing Inc.
194 Steve Herman Trutina Financial LLC
195 Ginny Gilder, Lisa Brummel, Dawn Trudeau Seattle Storm, Force 10 Enterprises, LLC
196 Krijn de Jonge Queen Anne Book Company
197 Mason Hebert Lottie’s Lounge; Jude’s
198 Christiana Maia Matthews Trilogy Chiropractic
199 Fred Russo Fred Russo Accupuncture
200 Nicole Koss Bulldog Medical Billing
201 Lora Swift West Seattle Junction Association
202 Robert Rebar Rebar & Associates, PLLC
203 Julia Ensley Bosnik International Inc. dba Zamboanga
204 Steve Medalia Small Business Insurance Advocacy Network
205 Lisa McNelis McNelis Architects
206 Be Nguyen Be’s Restaurant
207 Terry Gangon Gangon Insurance Agency Inc.
208 Jill Bruyere Fitness Revolution
209 Lisa Myers CAPERS Home
210 Dianna Winegarden HeyThrivy
211 Paul Silver LaVida Massage, West Seattle
212 Tyler McKenzie John L. Scott Real Estate West Seattle
213 David D’Hondt AGC of Washington
214 Sara Nelson & Matt Lincecum Fremont Brewing
215 Craig Dawson Retail Lockbox, Inc.
216 Carlos Alcabes Also Inc. dba Sleepers in Seattle
217 Glen Simecek Washington Bankers Association
218 Lee Keller The Keller Group
219 Daniel Rasmussen Pinnacle Integrative Health
220 W. Paul Grant PanGEO, Inc.
221 Mike Ellis Sound Advice dba Verizon West Seattle
222 John Smersh Smersh Design, Inc. dba Click! Design That Fits
223 Kristin Stoddard Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC
224 David Hein OKI Golf
225 Mark D.Swanson Don Swanson Insurance, Inc.
226 Brian F Carter AIA Integrus Architecture
227 Rodney Kuhn Envision Telephony, Inc.
228 Stacie Yale Courtesy Accounting
229 Angela & Ethan Stowell Ethan Stowell Restaurants
230 Bob Nuber Clark Nuber P.S.
231 Robert Wallace Wallace Properties, Inc.
232 James R. Blissett The Design Collective
233 Brian T. Duffy Duffy Wealth Management
234 Abby Fisher White Center Glass
235 Allen Chen Schooley Mitchell
236 Amy Lang Birds & Bees & Kids   
237 Anne and Clarence Higuera Ventana Construction
238 Anne Phyfe Palmer 8 Limbs Yoga Centers   
239 Christian Harris Sea-Town Real Estate
240 Christian Snell Downtown House Cleaning
241 Dan Austin Peel & Press
242 Dani Cone Cone & Steiner – Fuel Coffee
243 Dave Flatman, Bryan Krieger, Chris Jones Screwdriver Bar
244 Dawn Ackerman & George Pieper OutSmart Office Solutions, Inc.
245 Deborah Read MOTR, ErgoGirl!
246 Eli Allison Repair Revolution     
247 Eric C. Paulus Eric’s Garage Inc.
248 Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez TomboyX
249 Geoffrey Mac McElroy Mac’s Triangle Pub
250 Hamilton H. Gardiner, Jason Bergevin Holmquist + Gardiner PLLC
251 Heidi Herr Bird on a Wire, Admiral Bird Cafe, South Park Hall
252 Jami VlachosJami Hudson Life Design  
253 Jason Rathburn Rathburn Automotive
254 Jean-Pierre Vidican, Paul Ritums The West, The West Roosevelt
255 Jerome M Bader Blue Guardrail Marketing Agency        
256 Jerome O. Cohen Attorney at Law
257 Jill Nelson Hot Diggity Pet Sitting
258 Jon and Vanessa LeMaster , Jules Maes, The Tin Hat, Noble Barton
259 Kandie Jennings Tom’s Automotive
260 Kiera M. Silva Real Estate Broker
261 Lauren Burgon Law Office of Lauren Burgon
262 Leslie Lippi B-BAM!
263 Linda Di Lello Morton and Tamara Murphy Terra Plata  
264 Lisa Michaud Two Big Blondes Plus Size Consignment  
265 Luie Mierzwiak Real Fine Coffee
266 Malika Siddiq Lika Love
267 Marcee Hanan Buyer’s Advantage, Inc.
268 Mark Burr & Tom Stevens Jellyfish Brewing Company, LLC
269 Marti Hoffer Lumenomics, Inc.
270 Mason Hebert Jude’s Old Town, Lottie’s Lounge
271 Matt Lincecum and Sara Nelson Fremont Brewing
272 Michael K. Emmick Emmick Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services
273 Michael Pivar Pivar Financial Group
274 Joshua Montgomery Montgomery Mobile LLC
275 Patricia Throop Eldercare Consulting, LLC
276 Paul Prentice Prentice Design LLC
277 Rebecca Rice Arthur’s
278 Rene A. Marceau Marceau Pipe Organs, Inc.
279 Rita Dixson The Bridge
280 Roger Nyhus Nyhus Communication
281 S. Michael Hoffman, AIA H+dlT Collaborative
282 Scott Harrell 9lb Hammer,
283 Shawn Pedro 2 MISSION CANTINA
284 Stu Hennessey Alki Bicycle Co
285 Timothy Narby and Carol Bryant Nota Bene Cellars  
286 Tina Padilla, Peter Morse Mission Cantina
287 Tom Lang Resource ISWP  
288 Toni Cameron, CPATL;DR: Accounting
289 Travis Stanley Jones Mulleadys Irish Pub
290 Vanessa Carr Care at Home Seattle
291 Venita Longley Longley Property Mgmt, Inc.
292 Wassef Haroun Mamnoon    
293 West 5 Dave Montoure
294 Yuki Sodos Pettirosso & Big Bang Cafe
295 Laura Culberg The Sweatbox
296 Chris Engdahl Lantern Brewing LLC
297 Cyndal Ellenberger NW Permits
298 Kirby Kallas Lewis OOLA Distillery
299 Ian MacNeil Glass Distillery
300 Justin Shaheen Pilgrim Coffee
301 Amanda Bevill WorldSpice Merchants
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6 years ago

Justin, you claim the Progressive Tax Committee included “a mix of …business representatives”, but did it? It doesn’t seem like it.

6 years ago

That list is made up of mostly liberal business owners. It appears something went sideways with this task force.

6 years ago

Believe the task force has one business owner on it – and that’s a problem.

6 years ago

The task force was established as political cover specifically to find progressive revenue sources. It was not convened to determine if sdditional revenue sources were necessary, as that was a foregone conclusion for those convening the task force. The process was dishonest from the start.

6 years ago
Reply to  Glenn

That’s a good point. I thought the professional homelessness consultants said we spend enough, just not in the right way or in a coordinated way. Has the Council done the work to determine the additional need, how it’s going to help solve the problem, and where/how to spend it before they begin discussing where the money will come from?

6 years ago

This is a depressingly long list of local shops and restaurants to have to avoid; Ada’s and Elliot Bay!?! Luckily it’s getting to be nice enough to go down the hill to Left Bank.

So, assuming all these vocal businesses are going to lead the charge to finally implement an income tax instead? Because this seems like the next best option, as this city (and the people and businesses that have profited from it’s wealth) have been failing too many people in need for far too long.

6 years ago
Reply to  Ava

Thanks to the local small businesses that have the courage to speak out against this misguided tax that is bad for business and bad for solving the homelessness crisis. Hopefully more will sign on. The slanted make-up of this task force is the real story. Is there anyone in the task force that won’t get a cut of the money and benefit from an ever-growing homeless population driven by Seattle’s misuse of the existing $64 million we already spend? #Seattle_homeless_industrial_complex

6 years ago
Reply to  Ava

If one person tells you you’re a drunk, you’re likely to say, yeah right. If 300 people tell you you’re a drunk, you’re probably a drunk.

6 years ago

I think their questions are valid. So far it has been “give us the head tax first” then the plan to spend the revenue comes later. They should have a specific plan for the revenues first.

The city has also commissioned studies that say the money needs to be better allocated, yet that appears not to be addressed.

6 years ago

Hmm – so my little Airbnb in the basement will be handing out 25% of its revenue next year ($14 / night, approx $5k for the year) to the city for homeless etc which most commentators over in the ST think is ok, but these businesses gang together to avoid the same.

Equitable Seattle ? Not so much.

6 years ago

I’m redacting my name until I can learn more about this. I would have absolutely no problem paying a flat $395 annually if I even met that threshold. Just yesterday I talked to someone on this list who thought it would be $395/employee annually.

Diana Adams, Vermillion.

6 years ago
Reply to  Diana

Thanks for redacting your name – we’re all hurting because we don’t have an income tax, or any means to redistribute wealth. My month’s rent alone last year went up more than the annual fee for this, to give some perspective. I’m sure your rent went up too.


6 years ago
Reply to  Diana

Thanks Diana. The brunt of this will be paid for by large business who can afford it.

6 years ago
Reply to  Diana

Yes, the same large businesses that have the means and the ability to just leave if they want to. We’ll show ’em, won’t we– when they just pull their jobs and leave town? You really think Amazon, for example, won’t? Or Boeing?

6 years ago
Reply to  Diana

Boeing already left ! Moved HQ to Chicago years ago. Local foolish politicians should step away from the goose that laid the golden egg in Seattle !!! Those big bad corporations employ people and pay enormous amounts in tax.

6 years ago

So they said that there are also business people on the task force that decided to implement this head tax. Do you want to know the only business representative—the guy who owns Uncle Ikes. Everyone else is directly benefited by gathering these funds, and then spending them on either them, or their cause. Doesn’t seem much like a representative task force to me.

Jonathan Mark
Jonathan Mark
6 years ago

Washington is a low-tax state with very regressive taxation. As I commented at City Hall yesterday, the state government in Olympia gives us very few progressive revenue options and seems to aim specifically at denying Seattle what it needs. Corporations have the power in Olympia and can easily get tax breaks with the support of even Seattle’s legislative delegation. At the same time Seattle has an emergency with homelessness, affordable housing, and Olympia’s funding cuts creating a critical lack of human services.

A man suffered a seizure during the committee meeting and needed to be transported by paramedics. His friend said he has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), was housed a few months ago, but lost employment and housing due to his medical condition. His doctor says he will die within months if he continues living in a tent. Everyone in the packed room was strongly affected and it really accentuated the nature of the emergency. I hope he will be OK and can access a place to live.

So I say tax the big corporations to the max, and if they don’t like it they can lobby Olympia to give us additional progressive taxing options. Once we get other progressive options we could reduce the employee hours tax.

Councilmember Sawant did a great job yesterday. One of her good points is that this “skin in the game” concept doesn’t raise much money but (as we see here) it will create a lot of opposition from small business owners. The big companies can then put forward the small business owners as charismatic opposition to the new tax. “Skin in the game” makes no sense and needs to go. To progressively raise revenue we should tax big companies not little ones.

6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Mark

This is heartbreaking, and I bet there is more to the story. If the story is as described, the system is clearly failing, and this should become a case study used to improve the safety net to prevent this from ever happening. If the real story is not as simple as described, I would like to hear that too. There is so much BS being shoveled to justify ever increasing funding, pull at heart-strings, and paint those asking tough questions regarding Seattle’s failed approach to homelessness as monsters, it is hard for elected officials and the public to make informed choices. It would be great to have some follow-up investigative journalism.

6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Mark

“So I say tax the big corporations to the max, and if they don’t like it they can lobby Olympia to give us additional progressive taxing options.”

Have you actually worked for a big company lately? They won’t do that. They don’t GAF. They’ll just leave.

6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Mark

Sawant is misguided. She sits there shouting from the mount of money her microsoft spouce made and says “its unjust”. She is out of control and I hope she will soon be out of office.

Moving On
Moving On
6 years ago

This is really a mess. It’s not clear what this money would go for, why it’s the right amount of money, or what improvements in homelessness could be expected for this money. Everyone on the task force except for Ian Eisenberg would personally benefit from the taxes, and it makes no move to address the multitude of system failings identified by every expert.

Any additional funding for homelessness should be linked to the implementation of a right-to-shelter system coupled with enforcement of existing laws. The most expensive (and extensive) unmet need is for operating and services money to keep the chronically homeless housed. This tax does nothing for that.

Bob Knudson
Bob Knudson
6 years ago

There seems to be a consensus, backed up by a report from a very reputable consultant, that Seattle is spending enough for the homeless issue (about $64 million/yr I believe), but that it is not being spent very wisely or effectively. I would also like to remind everyone that King County as a whole spends nearly $200 million!

6 years ago
Reply to  Bob Knudson

exactly !
how about some accountability for the monies already spent!!

6 years ago

This effort is really morphing from addressing an acute crisis of homelessness to building tens of thousands of units of publicly owned low income housing, a goal of council member Sawant. The plan is to tax businesses the billions of dollars required for this housing, and this propsal is the start of that process. That is why the committee members describe the $150 million as a down payment.

Everyone wants to get currently homeless people off the streets and into a secure environment. But it really shouldnt cost this much money to accomplish that, unless we plan to build every currently homeless person an individual apartment, an unaffordable and ill advised goal in my opinion. We should be pursuing cheaper options that accomplish the goal of getting people off the street and into secure environments, hopefully with treatment available so they can stay off the streets.

As I said above, this is no longer about currently homeless people. It’s about dramatically increasing taxation to build tens of thousands of low income housing units. While the issues are related, the costs of solving one problem are dramatically higher than solving the other.

6 years ago
Reply to  Glenn

One of the main reasons Seattle’s response to homelessness is such a disaster is that people keep conflating the homelessness crisis wth the affordability crisis. These are related but separate issues. You can’t solve one by addressing the other. The way to solve the street homelessness crisis is simple: increase shelter beds and make it illegal to camp in the city. Unfortunately our elected leaders don’t have the political will to manage the city. The cities on west coast of the United States are unique in allowing camping. I don’t think most people realize that it is illegal to camp in most cities around the world and the laws are enforced. Drugs may be legal in Portugal, but that doesn’t mean heroin addicts can steal bikes, camp in the park and shoot up on a street corner without consequences. As a result, they have a functioning public realm and strong intergenerational community bonds and we have a zombie apocolypse.

6 years ago

These businesses benefit from out of control pricing, yet don’t want to pay for the people who they help displace. This is a list of businesses that do not want to take ownership of their responsibility of being in the community they benefit from. GFY

6 years ago

Sorry lolytppl. You are wrong. Businesses have no obligation to house people. Businesses provide a product or service that people want to pay for. It is the responsibility of government to keep order and provide the infrastructure we citizens have agreed to pay for. When businesses allow their expenses to be higher than their profits they go out of business. When government spends more than they take in, they can do less or raise taxes. We voters hold them accountable to make the most of our money. They haven’t here.

Jonathan Mark
Jonathan Mark
6 years ago

– The current trend is for corporations to move from suburbs to urban areas. Is Amazon going to move to the outer suburbs and build a great sea of parking spaces? No, it would overwhelm the infrastructure. And pretty much any other sizeable city in the USA would have much higher taxes than Seattle.

Statistics I find interesting: the Seattle Times reported last summer that Amazon occupied 19% of all prime office space in Seattle and was the largest corporate occupant of any US city, both in absolute terms and relative to city size. #2 by absolute size is Citi in New York City. #2 in relative terms is Nationwide occupying 16% of Columbus, Ohio.

Amazon’s search for headquarters #2 can be viewed in this context. It is not that Seattle is failing to be hospitable enough, but that practical limits are being approached, the impact on housing affordability certainly being one such limit.

6 years ago

We have spent millions upon millions of $$$ on the homelessness and housing “state of emergency” over the last 4+ years. We have seen little/no impact. I question the Seattle City Council’s basic understanding of finance, public works administration and project management.
No new taxes until full city council and mayor take accounting 101 and pass it.

6 years ago

What are all these hypocritical small business owners doing, speaking out against this tax while they try and create their own tax district to deal with homeless people on the streets of the expanded Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area? Cone & Steiner, Elliott Bay, Ada’s, Derschang, Terra Plata, and wow there’s Jeffrey Pelletier, the leader of the group himself. Amazing. Perhaps if they cut down on the cash spent to put flowers on Broadway they could afford the $400/year towards housing?