Author Topic: Amazon is moving  (Read 571 times)

Marti Talbott

Amazon is moving
« on: July 09, 2019, 08:51:33 AM »
About a year or so ago, the city of Seattle decided to charge $.25 per person - per hour in new taxes. They withdrew that idea, but it was too late. I just saw a city official claim that Amazon is the enemy. Not a good way to treat big business. Apparently, Amazon is responsible for the homeless situation. Not sure how they figure that. Still, the homeless problem is bad there and the city just lost a lot of revenue.

Anyway, Amazon is moving to Bellevue, which is just across Lake Washington, but out of the clutches of Seattle greed. In a way it is good, it will probably lower property values which will be good for renters and home owners. Not good for the number of job possibilities and the amount of taxes Seattle normally gets. As I'm sure you know, Amazon is also opening branches in other cities. Bellevue is a beautiful community and already houses Microsoft, but yikes I don't know where they are going to put all those people.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, Seattle!

notthatamanda

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 09:10:53 AM »
Was this going to be a payroll tax?   Paid by all employers?  I googled, it's less than 12 miles.  Would people really pick up and move for that?  People around here (Northeast) drive 30-40 miles each way without thinking twice about it.  And my husband's commute, less than 20 miles, routinely can take an hour, due to the traffic.
Just curious.
 

Marti Talbott

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 09:32:15 AM »
Was this going to be a payroll tax?   Paid by all employers?  I googled, it's less than 12 miles.  Would people really pick up and move for that?  People around here (Northeast) drive 30-40 miles each way without thinking twice about it.  And my husband's commute, less than 20 miles, routinely can take an hour, due to the traffic.
Just curious.

Amazon would have to pay the tax, not the employees. Yep, it's close to Seattle and the two bridges over Lake Washington are suspension toll bridges. They started charging tolls because the traffic got too heavy, which probably means a lot of their workers already live in Bellevue and Renton which is just south of Bellevue. I forgot about that. I have family there and we're hoping housing prices will drop. I think Microsoft has vans that pick people up for work. The move is really just a different county and city. I think it's a good example of what happens when people demand that the rich pay more taxes. The rich got rich by outsmarting government taxes and they're rich enough to just move away when they get ticked off.

notthatamanda

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 10:13:21 AM »
Are small businesses exempt?  There's no good answers.  We lost a ton of companies up here decades ago when companies in other parts of the country created tax incentives for them to move.  Then high tech took over, for a while, now jobs are lost to contractors overseas all the time.
 

Marti Talbott

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2019, 10:22:35 AM »
It's a mess, isn't it. Don't know if we have too many laws or not enough. I think the tax was limited to corporations with over a certain number of employees. That kind of ridiculous tax would wipe out a lot of small business.

 

Wonder

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 10:36:06 AM »
About a year or so ago, the city of Seattle decided to charge $.25 per person - per hour in new taxes. They withdrew that idea, but it was too late. I just saw a city official claim that Amazon is the enemy. Not a good way to treat big business. Apparently, Amazon is responsible for the homeless situation. Not sure how they figure that. Still, the homeless problem is bad there and the city just lost a lot of revenue.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, Seattle!

I've never heard anyone around here say Amazon is responsible for homelessness, but it seems fair to expect large local businesses to pay taxes for the benefit of the community. We're trying to make some investments in affordable housing and services to combat homelessness and Amazon's response was to threaten to leave. That's their right, yet their Seattle presence shows no sign of shrinking. Sure, they're moving one of their big teams across the lake, but they're also growing here. They're opening shiny new buildings down the street from me.

I have a friend who works in economic development, and she tells me there's literally not enough office space in Seattle to support Amazon. Our city is almost full! That's likely why they're spreading out. That and the fact that NYC didn't pan out once the locals saw what a lopsided deal it was. The whole "Seattle dared to make Amazon pay taxes and they destroyed their own economy" narrative is certainly going to serve certain corporate interests. But I don't see any evidence that it's true. I guess we'll see in 5-10 years how it all plays out.

Seattle is hardly in crisis and we're not suffering. I actually like that we have a civic backbone, and I hope other cities follow our example and thrive.

Thanks for the discussion, Marti! I hope Amazon continues to do well because they're making our current publishing world possible. But I don't have much sympathy for their complaints about taxation.

 :angel:

Wonder
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

― W.B. Yeats
 
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Wonder

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 10:39:35 AM »
Are small businesses exempt?  There's no good answers.  We lost a ton of companies up here decades ago when companies in other parts of the country created tax incentives for them to move.  Then high tech took over, for a while, now jobs are lost to contractors overseas all the time.


From the article:

The measure, passed unanimously by the city council, levied a $275-per-employee tax on companies with at least $20 million in gross annual revenue.

Seattle’s council later voted 7 to 2 to repeal the tax.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/12/seattle-backs-off-tax-to-help-homeless-after-amazon-business-groups-mount-fierce-opposition/
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

― W.B. Yeats
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 10:40:35 AM »
We're trying to make some investments in affordable housing and services to combat homelessness
 Wonder
I sincerely wish you good luck with that.  The affordable housing statutes in our state benefit the housing contractors.  The impact on actually providing affordable housing is minimal and it leaves the towns open to all sorts of problems.  It's ridiculous.
 
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Marti Talbott

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 11:13:24 AM »
I lived in Seattle for over 30 years and the homeless problem is nothing new. There are just more of them these days. When WA established the lottery, they said the money was going to the schools. So why new property taxes for the schools? Before I left, they raised a sin tax on drinks that contain sugar to help the community. That's your coffee, soda, Gatorade, etc., etc., etc. Pretty sure that hit Starbucks.

When I lived in Olympia, a low part of I-5 flooded backing up traffic for miles, and completely stopping the trucking industry for days. When asked what happened to the levee to fix the freeway, they said they didn't make enough, so they spent it on something else. You may think their trying to help the community, but I don't trust them. There's no one guarding the hen house.

Amazon is building all over they country, Texas, Oregon, etc. They have dozens of buildings in the Seattle city limits, and would not have moved any of their people unless they wanted to prove a point. I'll have to take your word about Amazon building new offices in the city of Seattle. I moved away because of the outrageously high taxes. Where I live now, I am paying half on almost everything.

WA does not have a state tax...unless you own a business. They call it a business and operation tax. If you sell enough books to set up a small business, be very careful. I just went through a nightmare with them - had to prove that my booksellers collected sales tax on the sale of my books, and if I could not prove it, I had to pay the sales tax myself. I got it worked out eventually, but it kept me up at night.

Good discussion, Wonder. Don't get me wrong, most other states are no better.

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Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2019, 02:24:45 AM »
I don't remember the source, but I recall reading an analysis of the homeless problem in Seattle that suggested it had been increased by the presence of Amazon. It's a variation on gentrification--property values rise, low-cost housing gets replaced with more upscale units, and more people end up homeless. The statistics indicate that the homeless population increased far more rapidly after the arrival of Amazon than it had before.

As for Amazon having a fit over paying a tax that was subsequently repealed, anyway, I'm not a socialist, but that kind of behavior is enough to make socialism look good to me. At the very least, it makes breaking up large companies look good to me. There's nothing wrong with business wanting to make money, but wanting to make money to the extent of not contributing their fair share to the maintenance of the surrounding community is excessive. Of course, corporations have been making deals like that for years with various cities and even states. If the business truly brings in more for the community than the community gives in tax concessions and other arrangements, then that's one thing, but Amazon seems to be pushing for more lopsided deals. And frankly, the spectacle of cities all across American having a contest to see which one could whore itself to Amazon the most to become the second headquarters disgusted me. (One of the cities offered to make Jeff Bezos mayor for life.)


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Marti Talbott

Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2019, 02:38:04 AM »
I don't remember the source, but I recall reading an analysis of the homeless problem in Seattle that suggested it had been increased by the presence of Amazon. It's a variation on gentrification--property values rise, low-cost housing gets replaced with more upscale units, and more people end up homeless. The statistics indicate that the homeless population increased far more rapidly after the arrival of Amazon than it had before.

As for Amazon having a fit over paying a tax that was subsequently repealed, anyway, I'm not a socialist, but that kind of behavior is enough to make socialism look good to me. At the very least, it makes breaking up large companies look good to me. There's nothing wrong with business wanting to make money, but wanting to make money to the extent of not contributing their fair share to the maintenance of the surrounding community is excessive. Of course, corporations have been making deals like that for years with various cities and even states. If the business truly brings in more for the community than the community gives in tax concessions and other arrangements, then that's one thing, but Amazon seems to be pushing for more lopsided deals. And frankly, the spectacle of cities all across American having a contest to see which one could whore itself to Amazon the most to become the second headquarters disgusted me. (One of the cities offered to make Jeff Bezos mayor for life.)

I would have to look it up, but I'm sure Amazon has been paying city taxes all along. This was just an added tax. I agree, we don't need Jeff Bezos to be mayor or any city. That's funny. He doesn't treat his employees very well and we advise people not to get a job with them. However, this is an example of what big business will/can do if the socialist idea of raising taxes on the rich comes. They will simply move, and probably back to other countries. Many jobs would be lost if that happens. Six of one, half dozen of another.

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Amazon is moving
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2019, 11:58:34 PM »
I don't remember the source, but I recall reading an analysis of the homeless problem in Seattle that suggested it had been increased by the presence of Amazon. It's a variation on gentrification--property values rise, low-cost housing gets replaced with more upscale units, and more people end up homeless. The statistics indicate that the homeless population increased far more rapidly after the arrival of Amazon than it had before.

As for Amazon having a fit over paying a tax that was subsequently repealed, anyway, I'm not a socialist, but that kind of behavior is enough to make socialism look good to me. At the very least, it makes breaking up large companies look good to me. There's nothing wrong with business wanting to make money, but wanting to make money to the extent of not contributing their fair share to the maintenance of the surrounding community is excessive. Of course, corporations have been making deals like that for years with various cities and even states. If the business truly brings in more for the community than the community gives in tax concessions and other arrangements, then that's one thing, but Amazon seems to be pushing for more lopsided deals. And frankly, the spectacle of cities all across American having a contest to see which one could whore itself to Amazon the most to become the second headquarters disgusted me. (One of the cities offered to make Jeff Bezos mayor for life.)

I would have to look it up, but I'm sure Amazon has been paying city taxes all along. This was just an added tax. I agree, we don't need Jeff Bezos to be mayor or any city. That's funny. He doesn't treat his employees very well and we advise people not to get a job with them. However, this is an example of what big business will/can do if the socialist idea of raising taxes on the rich comes. They will simply move, and probably back to other countries. Many jobs would be lost if that happens. Six of one, half dozen of another.
Sadly, that's probably true. However, it's also true that companies will in some cases tow the line for governments if the market is large enough. While I don't approve of the way companies try to turn themselves inside out to be able to operate in China, I can see why they don't want to be shut out of the largest market in the world. If companies that decided to leave the US knew that the US market would be closed to them if they did, they might think twice. I'm not necessarily suggesting that approach, but I think it might work. (Of course, it's easier for an authoritarian regime to use those kinds of tactics, and we certainly don't want to emulate China in that respect.

In such a scenario, the job loss might be offset by new companies springing up to fill the void. With no one giant internet outlet, smaller ones might flourish, at least for a while. Or maybe shopping malls would revive a little bit as well.


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