Under Pressure, Seattle Reverses Idiotic Tax on Corporations to Support Homeless

Mike Mish Shedlock

On May 14, in a unanimous vote, Seattle approved a head tax on employees to fund the homeless. Today Seattle reversed.

If you want more of something, you subsidize it. A tax on corporations to shelter the homeless is guaranteed to do one thing, increase the number of homeless moving in to take advantage.

Nonetheless, on May 14, in an idiotic move, the Seattle city council put a head tax on corporations. Today, the city reversed course.

The New York Times reports Seattle Officials Repeal Tax That Upset Amazon.

Seattle officials scuttled a corporate tax on Tuesday that they had wholeheartedly endorsed just a month ago. The vote delivered a big win for Amazon and offered a warning to cities eagerly bidding for the retailer’s second headquarters: This is a corporation that will go to the limit to get its way.

The Seattle City Council repealed the tax in a 7-to-2 vote on Tuesday that was accompanied by acrimony and accusations. Less than a month ago, it had passed unanimously. What changed in those weeks was a realization that corporate interests — not only Amazon but Starbucks, the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment firm Vulcan and local food and grocery firms — would continue to fight against it, and that at least some residents agreed with the companies.

The opponents funded No Tax on Jobs, an effort aimed at getting enough signatures to put a repeal on the November ballot. It became clear over the weekend that the measure would succeed in coming before voters, leading Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s mayor, and seven council members to issue a statement saying, “We heard you.”

Homelessness Jumps in Seattle

The New York Post reports [Seattle abandons tax on big biz after Amazon fights back](Seattle abandons tax on big biz after Amazon fights back).

The kicker is amusing and I an not at all surprised.

The tax was proposed as a progressive revenue source aimed at tackling one of the nation’s highest homelessness numbers, a problem that hasn’t eased even as city spending on the issue grew.

Supporters praised it as a step toward building badly needed affordable housing. They said too many people are suffering on the streets and that the problem is deepening, despite city-funded programs finding homes for 3,400 people last year.

Seattle spent $68 million on homelessness last year and plans to spend even more this year, not counting the tax that would have raised roughly $48 million annually.

But a one-night count in January found more than 12,000 homeless people in the Seattle and surrounding region, a 4 percent increase from the previous year.

Seattle spent $68 million finding homes for 3,400 homeless people. A 2018 Count puts the number of homeless at 8,600 and rising.

Guarantee homes, and tens of thousands of people will move in.

We Heard You

The New York Times, with its absurd opening paragraph, seems to blame Amazon.

This is actually what the city heard: Amazon issues threat over Seattle head-tax plan, halts tower construction planning.

I was wondering how long it would take for this idiocy to blow up. Fortunately, it blew up before any real damage was done.

Instead of "hearing voters" the city ought to think first.

Mayor Jenny Durkan conceded Monday that the uproar over the head tax would would lead to a "prolonged, expensive political fight ... that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis."

Socialist idiot of the day, Kshama Sawant, blasted Seattle council's 'shameless capitulation' on head tax

Sawant blasts accuses Amazon of exploiting Seattle.

No, dear Sawant, Seattle was exploiting Amazon in an idiotic effort doomed to fail for obvious reasons, if you would only think.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (12)

Socialists are incapable of doing math and they are economically illiterate -- all of them. However, they are always very keen to help others -- using 'other people's money', just not their own! Their generosity knows no bounds.

No. 1-10

Here is the scoop - Seattle reversed the head tax because the anti head tax initiative would have been on the same November ballot as the progressive "Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy" of over $600m. They are afraid that the initiative, which is certain to pass, would affect the outcome of the levy. In addition to the head tax, the city recently demanded from the WA state convention center expansion developers $82m to contribute to their favorite NGOs. This city is run by socialists. They are certain to come back for more taxes.


One of our elementary school teachers sent an email that explained to parents a similar problem. It seems that after the school stopped allowing him to punish kids for not doing their homework, the kids (not surprisingly) stopped doing their homework! So when you subsidize homeless to such an extent, it is already proven that it increases the problem, as evident by the exploding population in very progressive areas.


Right you are, and unfortunately, Seattle is not the only city run by Collectivists. Sadly, these Marxist / Fabian Socialists are the most committed to their radical cause, as witnessed by Antifa and nut job De Niro. Their leaders believe the system must be torn down and rebuilt in their vision, so they have no intention of going quietly into the night. At some point the silent majority must get off the couch.


The usual, progressive setup of Idiot vs Idiot. With an ever-dwindling number of productives supposed to pay for it all.

“Homelessness” was a solved problem as soon as the first ape stumbled into a cave during a storm. It was never, ever a problem in America back when she still aspired to be a somewhat free country. Not for Jedediah Smith, despite him literally exploring full blown wilderness. Yet, somehow, “homelessness” was never an issue he faced, and that needed “government action.”

Instead, it is in it’s entirety a problem created by government. For the express purpose of using the desperation it causes to fleece their underlings. For the benefit of themselves, as well as their closest social circle of privileged, zero-value-add leeches in the rent seeking classes.

So now you have a Seattle where Amazon, all it’s employees, and anyone else, is stuck paying waaaaayyyy above replacement cost for every square foot of covered space. So far above it that some can’t even afford any of it, and become nominally “homeless.” And if those someone’s decide to do something so productive as solve their problem by building something better than nothing to sleep in, you can be sure the thug army will stomp in and tear it down. Grizzlies, for all their nastiness, never did that to whatever Jedediah built. And neither did “The Rocky Mountain Planning and Land Use Commission,” nor any such gang of privileged, progressive, always expendable retards. Allowing Ol’ Jed, and those who followed him, to build a great country. For a while. Until the progressives noticed the wealth they had created, and came after them for loot….

With Jedediah style land use laws in place in Seattle, Amazon would have plenty of space to move into. Darned near rent free. Since putting a roof and some walls around an additional square foot is, by now, so ridiculously simple, that it costs almost nothing. So, Amazon’s costs would be lower. As would their competitors’, forcing Amazon to lower their prices. Amazon employees could afford more than a shoebox with their nice, plump salaries. Leaving the “homeless” to live the way Amazonians currently do. With the additional construction unleashed, providing productive jobs for thousands to millions of people in the process. And, by lowering costs for all companies, and all people, and all governments, and all everything else; make America a wealthier, more productive country in the process.

IOW, a win-win-win-win-win…….. for absolutely everyone. EXCEPT for the rent seeking leeches whose aptitude for anything, doesn’t extend beyond idly cheering on government to rob and harass productive people in order to sustain their own, always unearned, privilege. Without them ever providing a lick of value in return.


I can't afford an estate in Beverly Hills. It's not fair that some people get to live in mansions while I can't afford it. Something has to to be done.


Mish is exactly right on this. I work in Seattle and it is a Socialist S—-Hole. Sawant is the largest of the SS on the council. Seattle used to be a great city, clean, safe, and a good place to visit. With the the city allowing homeless and drug addicts to live in tents and shoot-up all over the city m, it looks like the S—-Hole it has become. Luckily I only work here so can go to a town where we have a council who does not allow criminal activity to run rampant or have trash littering on ramps and sidewalks. Sawant should crawl back in her hole and keep her mouth shut. Seattle residents get what they deserve for voting these people in and then re-electing them.


"If you want more of something, you subsidize it." The converse is, of course, also true. If you want less of something, you tax it. If you want less employees employed in the city, the answer is to put a tax on the number of employees a company has.


"Seattle spent $68 million finding homes for 3,400 homeless people."

$20K/year per homeless person.


How are there still homeless people with the booming economy (which is white hot in the west coast states) ?? can't people who are 'less fortunate' find extra jobs or work overtime to make more money?? Please advise how when the UE rate is 3.8% (and under 2% in Seattle) there are still any homeless people??

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