Starbucks, Amazon tee off on Seattle’s new head tax

SEATTLE - Two of Seattle's best-known corporations took direct aim at the city's new head tax Monday evening.

Amazon and Starbucks both released statements blasting the city council's unanimous decision to impose a $275-per-employee yearly tax on companies that make more than $20 million annually in Seattle.

Starbucks spokespersron John Kelly, Starbucks' senior vice president of global public affairs and social impact, said the city hasn't been accountable enough to prove it can use the money wisely.

"This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside," Kelly said. "If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-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."

Amazon vice president Drew Herdener said the company was "disappointed," and "uncertain" that the climate for businesses would get better.

“We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs," his statement reads. "While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.

"City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8B in 2010 to $4.2B in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018. This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem. We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.”