Open Letter to the City of Seattle
To the residents and leaders of Seattle:

We are local elected officials from all across the United States, and some of us represent cities on the shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). We write to offer our strong support and thanks to Seattle City Councilmembers, leaders, and residents for advancing the progressive tax measure currently before the Seattle City Council. We urge you to remain steadfast in your commitment to this effort to reduce homelessness and the persistent inequities faced by all of our cities.

Our nation’s biggest corporations are benefiting greatly and disproportionately in today’s economy—but many of our residents are not. The growth of these corporations has also contributed to acute challenges that we share in many of our cities: an affordable housing and homelessness crisis, wealth disparities, displacement of longtime residents, and underinvestment in public infrastructure, to name a few. Everyone—including big corporations —has a shared interest in and responsibility to address these inequities.

Amazon has highlighted its desire for strong public transit and affordable housing solutions in HQ2 shortlist cities. That is why the biggest corporations must contribute, like everyone else, to our tax base to fund solutions to these problems.

Unfortunately, when the city of Seattle proposed a modest, progressive tax on big corporations to fund housing affordability and homelessness initiatives, Amazon decided to be part of the problem and not the solution. The company, one of the world’s most valuable and run by the world’s richest man, has threatened to halt construction in Seattle if the Seattle City Council passes this tax proposal.

This is particularly concerning to us given Amazon’s approach to the competition for HQ2, in which the company has promoted a bidding war of jurisdictions competing with each other to offer greater incentive packages. If Amazon were serious about its support for strong affordable housing solutions, it would fully back this tax proposal and chip in to help address Seattle’s homelessness crisis.

By threatening Seattle over this tax, Amazon is sending a message to all of our cities: we play by our own rules.

But we have our own message: we thank Seattle’s leaders and residents for their effort to create a more equitable city. We and policymakers across the country are watching, knowing that Seattle’s resolve will strengthen our own efforts for equitable economies and shared prosperity.


Signed,

Eva Putzova, Councilmember, Flagstaff City Council, AZ
Regina Romero, Council Member, Tuscon City Council, AZ
Dr. Sue Elhessen, Member, Bellflower Unified School District Board of Trustees, CA
Jesse Arreguin, Mayor, City of Berkeley, CA
Daniel Lee, Council Member, Culver City Council, CA
Thomas Aujero Small, Mayor, Culver City, CA
D'Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D., Member, Inglewood Unified School Board, CA
Desley Brooks, Councilmember, Oakland City Council, CA
Eduardo Martinez, Councilmember, Richmond City Council, CA
Mary Graham, San Diego Community College District, CA
Richard Barrera, Trustee, San Diego Unified School Board, CA
Sandra Lee Fewer, Supervisor, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, CA
Hilary Ronen, Supervisor, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, CA
Thea Selby, Trustee, City College of San Francisco Board, CA
Dave Cortese, Supervisor, Santa Clara County Board, CA
Ruscal Cayangyang, Member, Vallejo School Board, CA
Eva Henry, Commissioner, Adams County Board of Commissioners, CO
Robin Kniech, Councilwoman, Denver City Council, CO
Johnny Farias, Councilman, South Bay Community Council, Miami-Dade, FL
John Arena, Alderman, Chicago City Council, IL
Scott Waguespack, Alderman, Chicago City Council, IL
Christopher Kolb, Member, Jefferson County Public School Board, KY
Ben Ewen-Campen, Alderman, Somerville Board of Aldermen, MA
Will Mbah, Alderman, Somerville Board of Aldermen, MA
Kristerfer Burnett, Councilmember, Baltimore City Council, MD
Bill Henry, Councilman, Baltimore City Council, MD
Mara Salcido, Member, Lovington School Board, MN
Lisa Bender, Council President, Minneapolis City Council, MN
Andrea Jenkins, Council Vice President, Minneapolis City Council, MN
Anne Mavity, Councilmember, St. Louis Park City Council, MN
Margaret Rog, Councilmember, St. Louis Park City Council, MN
Dan Bergeron, Committeeman, Manchester Board of Education, NH
Rolando R. Lavarro Jr., Council President, Jersey City Council, NJ
Darien Fernandez, Council Member, Taos Town Council, NM
Sean O'Brien, Village Trustee, Canton Board of Trustees, NY
Keith Batman, County Legislator, Cayuga County Legislature, NY
Kristofer Munn, County Legislator, Dutchess County Legislature, NY
Nick Page, County Legislator, Dutchess County Legislature, NY
Ross Whitford, Councilman, Eaton Town Council, NY
Gregory Young, Supervisor, Fulton County Board of Commissioners, NY
Neil Bettez, Supervisor, Town Board of New Paltz, NY
Brad Lander, Councilmember, New York City Council, NY
Michael Sabatino, Majority Leader, Yonkers City Council, NY
John Zanfardino, Council Member, Bowling Green City Council, OH
Tristan Rader, Council Member, Lakewood City Council, OH
Nick Komives, Council Member, Toledo City Council, OH
Kevin Madden, Council Member, Delaware County Council, PA
Jordi Comas, Councilperson, Lewisburg Borough Council, PA
Jesse Barlow, Council Member, State College Borough Council, PA
Meghan Kallman, Councilmember, Pawtucket City Council, RI
Terry Hall, Trustee, Allendale County School Board, SC
Gregorio Casar, Council Member, Austin City Council, TX
Philip Kingston, Council Member, Dallas City Council, TX
David Stout, Commissioner, El Paso County Commissioners Court, TX
Jessie K. Baines Jr., Commissioner, Metro Parks Commission, Tacoma, WA
Chantia Lewis, Alderwoman, Milwaukee Common Council, WI


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