Seattle set to run out of money but keep homeless

Amazon Seattle

This disclosure comes amidst a pushback by the online retail giant against a proposal by the Seattle City Council which aims to tax large corporations based on the number of employees.

The City Council unanimously passed a compromise plan Monday that taxes businesses making at least $20 million in gross revenues about $275 per full-time worker each year - lower than the $500 per worker initially proposed.

Median rents have doubled since 2010, according to real estate firm Zillow, and the area has the third highest homeless population in the nation, according to USA government statistics.

Given that there is hot competition from other American cities to become home to Amazon's second headquarters, this stated apprehension about the Seattle's business climate, should give Seattle's City Council pause.

Political blog Hot Air noted that Amazon's threat to end its expansion plans was described as "blackmail" by one city council member, and a labor group claimed Amazon was committing a crime and demanded an investigation.

Seattle also has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation. "This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem - it has a spending efficiency problem", he said. "Unfortunately, when the city of Seattle proposed a modest, progressive tax on big corporations to fund housing affordability and homelessness initiatives, Amazon chose to be part of the problem and not the solution". Publicly traded companies are not required to break out their total employees or revenue per city.

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"If they can not 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", said John Kelly, Starbucks' senior vice president of global public affairs and social impact.

"People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity".

Being the third region in the US with the highest number of homeless people, the city has been driving reforms to tackle the problem, as at least 169 homeless people died on Seattle's streets in 2017.

Guppy tells OneNewsNow that he doubts the City of Seattle will address homelessness despite a $200 million annual budget to do so.

Shannon Brown, 55, who has been living a tiny home at a south Seattle homeless encampment, said there's simply not enough housing for the city's poorest people. "I live in a little shed, but it's better than living in a tent or in a sleeping bag on the street", she said, "there's no away I can afford to live in Seattle".

Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant said May 14 of the tax: "I do think that this is is a massive victory, that in the face of Amazon and Jeff Bezos saying "no" to any tax, any tax we pass today would be a massive victory".

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