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.
Eva Putzova, Councilmember, Flagstaff City Council, AZRegina Romero, Council Member, Tuscon City Council, AZDr. Sue Elhessen, Member, Bellflower Unified School District Board of Trustees, CAJesse Arreguin, Mayor, City of Berkeley, CADaniel Lee, Council Member, Culver City Council, CAThomas Aujero Small, Mayor, Culver City, CAD'Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D., Member, Inglewood Unified School Board, CA Desley Brooks, Councilmember, Oakland City Council, CAEduardo Martinez, Councilmember, Richmond City Council, CAMary Graham, San Diego Community College District, CARichard Barrera, Trustee, San Diego Unified School Board, CASandra Lee Fewer, Supervisor, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, CAHilary Ronen, Supervisor, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, CAThea Selby, Trustee, City College of San Francisco Board, CADave Cortese, Supervisor, Santa Clara County Board, CARuscal Cayangyang, Member, Vallejo School Board, CAEva Henry, Commissioner, Adams County Board of Commissioners, CO Robin Kniech, Councilwoman, Denver City Council, COJohnny Farias, Councilman, South Bay Community Council, Miami-Dade, FLJohn Arena, Alderman, Chicago City Council, ILScott Waguespack, Alderman, Chicago City Council, ILChristopher Kolb, Member, Jefferson County Public School Board, KYBen Ewen-Campen, Alderman, Somerville Board of Aldermen, MAWill Mbah, Alderman, Somerville Board of Aldermen, MAKristerfer Burnett, Councilmember, Baltimore City Council, MDBill Henry, Councilman, Baltimore City Council, MDMara Salcido, Member, Lovington School Board, MNLisa Bender, Council President, Minneapolis City Council, MNAndrea Jenkins, Council Vice President, Minneapolis City Council, MNAnne Mavity, Councilmember, St. Louis Park City Council, MNMargaret Rog, Councilmember, St. Louis Park City Council, MNDan Bergeron, Committeeman, Manchester Board of Education, NHRolando R. Lavarro Jr., Council President, Jersey City Council, NJDarien Fernandez, Council Member, Taos Town Council, NMSean O'Brien, Village Trustee, Canton Board of Trustees, NYKeith Batman, County Legislator, Cayuga County Legislature, NYKristofer Munn, County Legislator, Dutchess County Legislature, NYNick Page, County Legislator, Dutchess County Legislature, NYRoss Whitford, Councilman, Eaton Town Council, NYGregory Young, Supervisor, Fulton County Board of Commissioners, NYNeil Bettez, Supervisor, Town Board of New Paltz, NYBrad Lander, Councilmember, New York City Council, NYMichael Sabatino, Majority Leader, Yonkers City Council, NYJohn Zanfardino, Council Member, Bowling Green City Council, OHTristan Rader, Council Member, Lakewood City Council, OHNick Komives, Council Member, Toledo City Council, OHKevin Madden, Council Member, Delaware County Council, PAJordi Comas, Councilperson, Lewisburg Borough Council, PAJesse Barlow, Council Member, State College Borough Council, PAMeghan Kallman, Councilmember, Pawtucket City Council, RITerry Hall, Trustee, Allendale County School Board, SCGregorio Casar, Council Member, Austin City Council, TXPhilip Kingston, Council Member, Dallas City Council, TXDavid Stout, Commissioner, El Paso County Commissioners Court, TXJessie K. Baines Jr., Commissioner, Metro Parks Commission, Tacoma, WAChantia Lewis, Alderwoman, Milwaukee Common Council, WI
*We will add additional names as they are submitted