Dori: Why would anyone start a business in Seattle?
The Seattle City Council’s new head tax compromise is $275 per employee per year. This is $25 more than the compromise that Jenny Durkan rolled out last week, and $225 less than the original proposal of $500 (which Kshama Sawant of course still prefers). It’s being billed as a compromise, but as I told you last week, a bad policy is still a bad policy when it’s cut in half.
Forget about the businesses that are already here for a moment. I want you to think about the next five, 10, 20 years. Think about any business in the country that is thinking about starting or moving to Seattle. Seattle is now a city that has a 10-times-greater head tax than any other in the country.
Why would any business, knowing what we know today, choose to relocate or start up in Seattle? If you have a company with 20 employees, you could be in Seattle and tax yourselves thousands of dollars per year, or you could go to Shoreline, or Renton, or Bellevue, and avoid that tax.
This is one of a million reasons why this head tax is a horrible policy. When you punish companies for creating jobs, creating wealth, creating the tax base that is necessary so buffoons like our council members can collect a salary, it’s a bad policy.
Oh, and here’s a hilarious anecdote from this morning’s council briefing — Sally Bagshaw called out Kshama Sawant, who has apparently been using the printer at City Hall for her anti-Amazon signs as part of her socialist crusade. That means the taxpayers have been footing the bill for her personal propaganda with the Affordable Housing Alliance, a purely anti-business, anti-capitalism organization. Why can’t she go to Kinkos, or have one of her toadies go for her?
So that’s what’s going on today in our city. Jenny Durkan is proving to be a spineless leader, or rather, not a leader at all. The Seattle City Council is inarticulate, and they don’t know what they’re going to do with the millions of dollars from the head tax. They completely missed the mark on what they have to do — drug rehab, mental health counseling, and job training. That’s how they can change lives.
You should not provide people with housing where they can continue to shoot up heroin and smoke meth. If you’re going to provide people with housing, you need to offer them substance treatment, you need to mandate urine tests so you know that they are clean, and if they are not clean, they do not get the taxpayer-funded housing. You give them an address for prospective employers to track them down. You work with businesses, offering tax breaks, to help people transition from homeless to gainfully employed. You help these people get their lives back.
What the city is doing is 180 degrees the other direction. It has never been about a lack of tax dollars. It has always, always been a lack of purpose, focus, and human compassion. Politicians just want money. They do not want to save the lives of people suffering addiction out on the street.