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.
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The Seattle City Council repealed the tax in a 7-to-2 vote on Tuesday that was accompanied by acrimony and accusations.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 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