Seattle Tech Companies Tax Revolt

So Jeffie throws a chair into the corner and says he’s not going to build a new Amazon building in downtown Seattle because of the new head-tax on big companies like Amazon. Good.

When a city is facing a housing crisis which means an entire class of people can’t afford to find a place to live near their work or are forced to live on the streets, it’s good news to hear one of the employers will not bring in more workers. It just means fewer low-income people will be priced out from their homes.

Can Seattle and the surrounding suburbs support a larger population? Maybe, but first, we have to build housing for people who support these $100,000/year employees who can afford to pay $1.2 million for a two-bedroom walk-up. The baristas, the cooks, the janitors, the teachers, the writers and artists (who don’t get paid like code developers), and the rest also need places to live–places that don’t require an hour-long commute. We wonder why we have the worst traffic jams in the country? It’s because we failed to pay for mass transit decades ago, and failed to plan for everyone’s affordable housing fifty years ago. We were excited when Microsoft and Nintendo and Boeing and all the rest came to Seattle but we failed to tax these companies enough to pay for the massive infrastructure needed to support them AND those who support those new employees.

So here we are with horrible traffic jams–even in the outlying suburbs. We also have a growing homeless population in a time of relatively high unemployment. Question: will all of these tent-campers living in squalor move into shelters or apartments? We all know they won’t. There are too many with addiction problems not tolerated in public housing, too many with mental issues, and there aren’t any other places where they feel safe. Yes, I expect there will always be Hoovervilles in Seattle scattered all over the city, but we can do far better when it comes to affordable housing for those who want to give up their cars to live close to work.

Sure, Jeff. Stop bringing your people to Seattle. We’ll be better for it. Want them to stay? Pay your fair share.

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