Starbucks and Amazon might be well-known for their thinly veiled leftist agendas, but the pair or mega-corporations are sounding mighty . . . conservative . . . following Seattle’s decision to raise taxes on the city’s corporate residents in order to pay for affordable housing and “homeless services.”
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Starbucks Vice President Drew Herdener excoriated the city for failing to practice fiscal restraint, and instead punishing businesses for what is ultimately the city’s failure.
“The city does not have a revenue problem — it has a spending efficiency problem,” Herdener said. “We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.”
Amazon actually went before the city council to complain that Seattle was trying to push its responsibility for its own homelessness problem onto corporations, and got blasted by Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez for their lack of compassion.
“[Amazon’s] 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,” the councilwoman snapped, according to Fox News.
Neither corporation said outright that they wanted Seattle to take on the homeless problem on its own, but both claimed they were trying to explain to Seattle’s local government officials that there was no way a “head tax,” which charges Seattle-based corporations a $275 surcharge per employee per year, would ever lower the cost of Seattle housing to the point where it would be “affordable” for those living on the street — nor does providing such housing solve Seattle’s transient problem.
After all, it didn’t work the first time. Seattle repealed a similar “head tax” in 2009 after business declined.
The city, Starbucks’ CEO John Kelly said in a statement issued to media, can’t manage to care for the homeless it has. “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,” Kelly warned.
Seattle officials have been working on the “head tax” for nearly a year. Monday night, the council passed a resolution implementing the tax, though at a lower rate (the $275-per-person rate) than they wanted ($500-per-person). The mayor is not expected to veto the legislation.
The “head tax” is supposed to raise $48 million per year, but that depends largely on whether large corporations remain in a city where the cost of doing business is literally $275 per employee.