JASON RANTZ

Democrat: ‘Socialist echo chamber’ pushing Amazon out of Seattle

Sep 8, 2017, 5:45 AM | Updated: Dec 19, 2017, 6:45 pm

Amazon is looking for a second headquarters outside of Seattle.

RELATED: Washington lawmakers react to Amazon news

State senator Guy Palumbo, a Democrat representing Bothell and Mountlake Terrace, tells KTTH’s Jason Rantz he’s not surprised.

“This has got to be a major wake up call for the Socialist echo chamber in Seattle, making a single company that’s responsible for the biggest increase in your tax revenue over the last decade or so a scapegoat for all of Seattle’s societal woes — it just creates a hostile business climate.”

Palumbo doesn’t know for sure why Amazon is looking outside the city, but he said it’s apparent in the language they used in the press release that the company is looking for a more welcoming partner and stable environment. The senator is not a company spokesperson, but his wife works there.

Traffic might be one reason to pack up the boxes and leave.

“Amazon does not run transportation in the city. So when everyone complains that it’s such a problem and there are so many Amazonians, they don’t control the levers of how you deal with transit and transportation. That is the city council.”

Not to mention housing affordability and gentrification — two issues commonly blamed on Amazon.

The senator recalls a time when Amazon made the conscious decision to settle in the downtown core (versus out in the suburbs like Microsoft).

“There is nothing more environmental that we can do than to build upwards (aka Manhattan) and to have people live and work in the same area … they did the right thing for our city, but somehow, that’s a problem.”

It’s not clear whether the state Legislature will offer a tax break like it has Boeing in the past and Palumbo believes there are major issues on a local level that affect Amazon’s business decisions. Issues such as security for its employees, transportation, and income tax.

“It’s well documented that when Jeff (Bezos) was driving across country and writing the Amazon business plan, he was looking at Texas, Washington, and I think there was one other state,” Palumbo said. “And one of the major things he was looking at was no state income tax. Had we had an income tax back in 1995, we wouldn’t have Amazon.”

Palumbo believes the retail giant will always maintain a footprint in Seattle, but the question is how big it will be.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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