Amazon thought they made Seattle an offer we couldn't refuse. When the company’s top executives threatened the city's entire economy over a modest tax on large businesses, Amazon broke new ground on out-of-control corporate misbehavior — all because the richest human in the world would rather evade taxes than do his part to address our homelessness crisis.
This was a threat, not an argument. And it was about intimidation, not resources. After all, Amazon's attempt to rough up the city came just weeks after the company announced plans to generate $2 billion in additional revenue by raising their per-head charge on Amazon Prime customers by $20.
But Seattle refused to knuckle under. The public rejected Amazon's subprime mob boss behavior. And the company moved, fast. First Amazon insisted last fall and again earlier this month that in their opinion, the right amount of resources for housing & homelessness was $0. They threatened to take their balls and go home over it... and then they quickly agreed to $25 million. The City Council majority didn't blink, and today Amazon and their allies backed a $50 million tax on big businesses to support affordable housing and services for homeless people.
Badaboom, badabing. The people of Seattle stood up and made real progress on this one.
But there's more to do. Our city, our region, and our state need to make more dramatic investments in affordable housing so everyone has a place to call home; we need to ensure giant corporations and the top 1% pay their fair share; and we need to do what it takes to ensure that never again can the rich and powerful try to take a whole city hostage just because they don't want to be told no.
This week, Seattle showed once again that we can get it done.