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What’s next for Seattle’s head tax? Sawant pivoting on ‘Tax Amazon Movement’ after repeal

Even as they voted to repeal it, Seattle City Council members said Tuesday that an employee hours tax is probably the city’s best route forward to creating an alternative, non-regressive revenue stream to combat Seattle’s affordability crisis. The moves begin, now, to come up with a new, stronger tax plan.

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, who has claimed the “Tax Amazon movement” as a follow-up to the successful $15 minimum wage fight, will be first out of the gates for shaping what comes next, saying Tuesday in council chambers that a “Tax Amazon Movement: Campaign Launch & Organizing Conference” is still happening.

Socialist Alternative organizers, in the description of the June 30th organizing event written before Tuesday’s vote, said the “Tax Amazon movement” is “under ferocious attack from big businesses which are scared of the precedent this is already setting for working people nationwide.” Tuesday’s vote by the council will only stoke the fire.

Sawant said Tuesday that the fight for a head tax in Seattle is a matter of building the movement and changing public sentiment. Prior to her “no” vote against the repeal, Sawant scolded fellow council members for giving up on “working people” like those who supported the “No Tax on Jobs” campaign. She might have her work cut out for her. Sawant’s May 12th march on Amazon attracted dozens of protesters, most Socialist Alternative supporters.

Meanwhile, Teresa Mosqueda, who co-sponsored the head tax legislation with Lisa Herbold and joined Sawant in voting against the repeal, said Tuesday that she is ready for “Plan B” and forging a new tax plan with the city’s business community.

UPDATE 6/28/2018: Organizers from Socialist Alternative Seattle have announced they are rescheduling the Tax Amazon event due to Saturday’s Families Belong Together protest:

In light of the national day of action standing against the separation and detention of immigrant families, we are delaying this event in favor of mobilizing in full to the action at the federal detention center in Sea-Tac. Come with us and make it clear that working people in Seattle reject this brutal policy and stand with immigrant families!

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31 thoughts on “What’s next for Seattle’s head tax? Sawant pivoting on ‘Tax Amazon Movement’ after repeal” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Waiting for the city to repeal the tax on Airbnb they recently passed to fund ‘affordable housing’. If big biz doesn’t have to pay why does the little guy ?

    • What are you doing besides complaining on blogs to make the change you seek?

      And honestly, YOU should pay. You’re taking rentals offline and driving up costs in the rental market. You’re not a victim, you’re part of the problem!

      • It’s great to see you tell me how I can rent out my property, and how much tax I should pay. You’d be an ideal candidate for Seattle city council.

        Perhaps if you own a short term rental you should pay $14/ night to the city. Nah. Don’t like it do you.

      • I didn’t tell you how to manage your property or how much tax you should pay.

        You just like to complain on every “head tax” blog rather than showing initiative to change the regulations.

        You’re likely making more from your Airbnb scheme than providing long term housing so I don’t feel for you having to pay $14/night in taxes. No sympathy from me.

      • “Short term rental” is a good one. You mean you are operating a hotel but claiming you are not subject to Washington State hospitality law or the Seattle hotel/motel tax?

    • How long will it take for you to get the point? Let me spell it out for you: Nobody gives a shit about Airbnb owners. People see you as directly contributory to the high rents Seattle is experiencing. You see it different because it’s your perspective. But that’s most people’s perspective. That’s why you constantly get ignored here. You can keep complaining about it, but you’re unlikely to change anybody’s mind. That’s the painful truth. If your whole survival depends on renting out your basement to Airbnb, you can either adapt your approach to fit the current regulations, lobby for changes, or you’d better have a plan B for your survival (like moving somewhere cheaper to live). Complaining about it here won’t do you any good.

    • I agree with Timmy and Jim… are definitely part of the affordability problem. Something tells me you’re doing just fine financially with your Airbnb rentals. Please stop whining on this blog with your repetitious comments.

    • So many helpful commend. I do hope you all are prepared to fund your retirement and medical costs for your diabetes.

      – it’s ironic I will be paying 10-25% of earnings, where Amazon would pay a rounding error

      – I don’t rent out my space full time since it lacks a kitchen. It’s not going to be useful to anyone as affordable housing

  2. Lost cause. Prove that the money you already have is being used well. You can’t. Put up or shut up. Recall the entire council.

  3. Sawant is seriously just like Trump. Dedicating herself and her “movement” to a full-on attack against a business because she doesn’t like its CEO.

    I wonder how the thousands of Amazon employees living in Capitol Hill feel about being represented by someone who spends all her spare time organizing to attack them. Hopefully every single one of them will turn out to vote her out in 2019.

  4. Whatever happened to the report by the council’s $200,000 consultant who said Seattle government already has enough money to effectively decrease homelessness but isn’t spending it well?

    • None on the Council address this. They need to not stand around the same water cooler and talk about solutions. It’s hilarious that Ms. Sawant claims to understand “the working people.” I’m a working person. And I couldn’t disagree with her more. These Council folks are not tapped into their constituents. I’ve never witnessed a time like the last several weeks where most people I talked to were trying to find out where there was a petition to sign. They can’t imagine that people are coming to the conclusion that this Head Tax is the wrong approach on our own. Amazon or the Chamber of Commerce didn’t convince me. The actions of these arrogant, “I’m smarter than you all” council members accomplished that.

      • They were tapped into their constituents enough to realize if they didn’t repeal this tax, we’d repeal it for them in November, and we’d repeal them too. Oh, I think they know *exactly* how most of us feel. They were just arrogant enough to think they could ignore us.

  5. Ace – I agree with you. They cant account for the money they have spent. They all need to go, and for Sawant to hold her vote yesterday until the room was quiet, is just plain arrogant! Get out and get lost!

  6. OMG, again?!? It’s been one day!!

    I advise anyone interested in the debate to watch the Council speeches. They don’t get it. It’s clear – and very sad – that no progress will be made on this issue with the current Council, because all they are talking about is how to raise more money. They just refuse to try to make progress with the money they have right now, engage in a real conversation about how the money should be spent, etc. Its only about finding the right method to raise taxes.

    The Mayor’s statement was good Council is in denial and still wants to double down on what we’re doing now. Good time to encourage folks to run for office.

    • If you do a google search you’ll find several articles written in the last year or 2 that detail the steps needed to recall a City Councilperson. It’s not impossible but it’s essentially a lost cause. We’re pretty much stuck with her till she gets voted out.

  7. Detroit, Gary, Buffalo, Cleveland, Youngstown, Baltimore, St. Louis, Compton..all cities which drove businesses away from their municipalities. In its pursuit of Socialism, Seattle will eventually find its way onto that list. As the noted philosopher George Santayana so eloquently said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    • The entire Bay Area too, just driving businesses away! Like, zero growth in the last 20 years. California, in general, completely failing to grow businesses and its economy! Why just look at all of those cities in Oklahoma and Alabama; austerity is a virtual guarantee of growth! Millennials are flocking to the midwest to escape the looming specter of Socialism!

      • Don’t forget the desolate shilthole that is Scandinavia, with all their socialismz! And Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, etc.

  8. I hope Kshama doesn’t print up another 4,000 protest posters (at taxpayer expense, natch) for her “dozens” of ardent followers, more than a few of whom are on the Socialist Alternative payroll.

    And I hope Kshama refuses to accept every penny (if it gets to be even that much) she makes from sales on Amazon of her upcoming autobiography.