More than 50 elected officials across the country, including in Amazon HQ2 shortlist cities, signed a letter encouraging Seattle to move forward despite the company’s fierce opposition.
Open letter link: http://bit.ly/SeattleLetter
With the Seattle City Council voting on a plan that would tax the city’s largest businesses in order to fund affordable housing and homelessness initiatives, local elected officials from across the country paid close attention. Facing similar pressures on housing costs and homelessness in their own cities, these elected officials offered support for Seattle’s resolve and expressed alarm at Amazon’s fierce opposition to the proposal.
“Amazon is one of the most profitable corporations in the world. They should pay their fair share of taxes to address inequality and homelessness,” said Gregorio Casar, a City Council Member in Austin, Texas. “Amazon’s irresponsible behavior in Seattle is another example of how the world’s richest companies evade their responsibility to taxpayers. In potential HQ2 cities like Austin, we should not encourage Amazon’s bullying and tax evasion through more corporate welfare.”
As Amazon continues its selection process for its second headquarters and rapidly expands its operations across the country, its approach in Seattle has elected officials across the country wondering whether the company would put up similar roadblocks toward housing solutions and progressive legislation in their own cities.
“Denver residents are already highly skeptical of our community’s ability to absorb the spike in growth Amazon would represent,” observed Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech. “A contest to pit cities against each other in a budget-busting race to help the wealthiest CEO in the country avoid taxes was concerning enough. Threatening cities the way they have in Seattle is outrageous. Denver should never host a company that behaves in this way.”
The letter signatories – more than 50 city councilors, mayors, county officials, and school board members – called on Amazon to “fully back this tax proposal and chip in to help address Seattle’s homelessness crisis.” Several of the letter signers represent jurisdictions in or adjacent to the shortlist sites for Amazon’s second headquarters.
“We in Chicago are watching Seattle closely to see how Amazon responds,” said Alderman John Arena of the Chicago City Council. “If they are considering moving into our city, we want to know that they are going to commit to paying their fair share in taxes. Amazon has already been offered $2 billion to come to Illinois, and we are gravely concerned about the precedent set by such giveaways to multinational corporations.”