DAVE ROSS

Economist: Amazon expansion in Bellevue a ‘remarkable indictment’ of Seattle council

Sep 7, 2020, 10:54 AM | Updated: Sep 8, 2020, 11:03 am

Last week, Amazon announced that it would adding another 10,000 jobs to its Bellevue operations, committing a total of 25,000 workers to the Eastside in the next few years. In the wake of a recently passed big business tax in Seattle, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner sees the company’s expansion as a direct reaction to that legislation.

“I think this is a remarkable indictment of our local legislature,” Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

Originally, Amazon had planned to add 15,000 jobs to the Eastside. But less than two months after Seattle city councilmembers voted to approve a landmark tax on corporations with payrolls over $7 million, the company expanded those plans significantly, including another 10,000 jobs and a $1 million grant to Bellevue’s Human Services Fund.

Gardner had predicted this might happen shortly after the tax was passed, saying in July that he had “no doubt we’re going to hear several announcements of some massive expansion by Amazon into Bellevue.”

How Bellevue wooed Amazon over to the Eastside

“Really, it’s going to become one of those bad-kept secrets,” he said at the time.

Amazon now either owns or leases 4.8 million square feet of office space in Bellevue, having recently added space at the 42-story 555 Tower and the three 16- to 17-story towers in the West Main block. Both new spaces are currently under construction.

In 2018, a previous head tax passed by city council was quickly followed by Amazon warning city leaders that an increased tax burden could motivate the company to begin moving its operations out of Seattle. The tax was repealed, but the sum total was what Gardner describes as a “shot across the bows of City Hall.”

Amazon expected to close on mega real estate deal in Bellevue

With the new tax passed by Seattle councilmembers, history appears to be repeating itself, albeit without the company directly citing the new business tax as the reason for its latest Bellevue expansion efforts.

The tax, dubbed “JumpStart Seattle” and sponsored by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, was first unveiled in mid-June. It will raise over $200 million a year, with qualifying businesses taxed 0.7% for every employee making over $150,000, and 1.4% for employees making over $500,000.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Impatient drivers...
Dave Ross

Ross: A toll-based solution for the Puget Sound region’s impatient drivers

Over the past few weekends, I’ve come to realize that at least when it comes to weekend driving, I can’t compete anymore.
1 day ago
Mudhoney...
MyNorthwest Staff

Mudhoney bassist and nurse: ‘COVID has touched everything,’ even music

Guy Maddison, the bassist for Mudhoney, is also a supervising nurse at Harborview. He shares the impact COVID has had on his life.
3 days ago
Steve Bannon...
Dave Ross

Ross: The person who really needs to testify about Jan. 6 riot isn’t Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon may be the one summoned to testify in Congress about Jan. 6, but there's someone else who has more to answer for.
4 days ago
Freedom, vaccine mandate...
Dave Ross

Ross: Freedom requires level of unselfishness many in our country don’t have

Total freedom requires a level of unselfishness that doesn't come naturally for a lot of people, as we've seen firsthand with the state vaccine mandate.
5 days ago
car tabs, Orting...
Dave Ross

Ross: Did you vote for I-976 car tab cuts in 2019? Wish granted

While a vaccine mandate cost the ferry system 7% of its staff, let’s remember this is happening in a state that was ready to impose bigger cuts two years ago.
6 days ago
Vaccine...
Dave Ross

Ross: May we live long and prosper with our vaccine choices

Talk show host Dennis Praeger decided to put it all on the line to prove he’s right about vaccines.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Economist: Amazon expansion in Bellevue a ‘remarkable indictment’ of Seattle council