Dear Seattle Metro Chamber Members:
The discourse about the Seattle City Council's proposed tax on jobs is heating up as more people continue to question the Council's spending priorities and plan.
Last week Amazon, our city's largest private employer, shared specifics about its decision to pause construction, and re-evaluate a lease, pending the Seattle City Council's vote on the tax on jobs. What affects our largest employers will have repercussions throughout our economic ecosystem, as Iron Workers shared with Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Thursday, and as I told the Seattle Times in an article published today.
As the Council heads toward a final vote on May 14, it has not demonstrated how this significant investment will turn the tide on homelessness in our city. Your voice is needed.
Here is how you can help this week:
- Show up: The Council is holding a 30-minute public comment period at a just-announced meeting at 9:30 a.m. this Wednesday, May 9, at City Hall. It is critical that we have a strong showing at this hearing to build on the focused, respectful presence we had last time. Even if you don't testify, please consider attending to show support those who will. Please let Connie Au-Yeung from our office know if you plan to attend.
- Share your story: Every employer has a story to tell. Please consider sharing how the tax will affect you and your employees, particularly if there are business decisions that will be affected by the outcome of this proposal. Please contact Alicia Teel if you are willing and able to speak to the media about this.
- Stay on message: We have gained incredible traction in the civic conversation over the past two months by being clear about why we oppose this tax on jobs. Seattle's business community has strongly supported taxes in the past for investments with a clear plan, including the $290 million housing levy renewal in 2016. The points below are essential to the conversation.
- The Council has demonstrated an alarming recklessness about spending. Even with record revenues, including $700 million per year from business taxes for the general fund, the City's budget director warned last Monday that the City is facing deficits in 2019 and 2020.
- This plan will not reduce homelessness, and given the Council's inconsistent approach to the issue, we cannot trust that their plan will turn the tide of this crisis. The City already spends $63 million on homelessness and has allocated over $100 million for affordable housing this year.
- A tax on jobs is not the answer - instead, we urge the Council to take a regional approach to this regional challenge and coordinate its work with the One Table effort.
Thank you for your continued partnership on this issue.
President & CEO
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce