Meanwhile the Movement to Tax Big Business Spreads to Other Cities
On May 14, the Seattle City Council passed a historic tax on Amazon and other big corporations to fund permanently-affordable, publicly-owned housing, under the leadership of Socialist Alternative, Democratic Socialists of America, and socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
The final bill, a $48 million annual tax on the biggest 3% of corporations in Seattle, was the end result of a powerful campaign by housing activists and socialists over the last nine months. What we won, even though it was substantially reduced under big business pressure and Amazon’s extortionary threat to take away jobs, is nonetheless a major victory and inspiring example for workers around the country – especially as it comes alongside Trump’s corporate tax cuts and as Amazon demands handouts from cities around the country competing for HQ2.
Big Business and the Right Wing Fight Back
Within days of the passage of the #TaxAmazon ordinance, big-business-funded groups launched a ballot referendum to repeal it, raising already more than $350,000. In addition to paid signature gatherers, big business is being assisted by conservative NIMBY groups like Speak Out Seattle, who regularly employ anti-homeless and right wing arguments, as well as by far right forces like Patriot Prayer, whose local political candidate, Joey Gibson, announced his support for the referendum.