Two of Seattle’s top employers are taking the gloves off and pulling no punches in the wake of a newly passed tax on companies making more than $20 million a year in the city.
Starbucks executive John Kelly said that the city has failed to adequately address the needs of homeless families and “no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction” in a statement Monday. The funds from the so-called “head tax” will go toward affordable housing and homeless services.
Related: Amazon responds to tax vote: Seattle’s ‘hostile approach and rhetoric … forces us to question our growth here’
Criticism from Starbucks comes on the heels of a statement Amazon issued saying it is “very apprehensive” about its future in Seattle because of the city’s “hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses.”
Here’s Kelly’s full statement:
This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside. If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction. This City pays more attention to the desires of the owners of illegally parked RVs than families seeking emergency shelter.
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed the tax that has earned Starbucks and Amazon’s ire Monday afternoon. The tax that made it across the finish line is actually smaller than the original proposal the city was considering. Top-grossing Seattle businesses will be taxed $275 per employee, per hour worked — down from $500 previously — each year for five years. At that time the city will evaluate whether or not to renew the tax.
Read all of GeekWire’s coverage of the “head tax” and its impact on the business community here.