Back in March Skip reported on a discussion underway in the city that never stops taxing, Seattle. The city council debate over a new tax based on how many people a company employs. At the time the issue was not so much if but how. The “how” has been decided and their latest act of plunder approved.
The result is the so-called head tax on Seattle businesses that gross at least $20 million annually. According to The Seattle Times, 585 businesses in the city will be subject to the tax. Not surprisingly, the tech giant Amazon is expected to pay the most under the tax. The initial proposal was for a $500 tax per employee, which, in Amazon’s case, would have meant an added $20 million in labor costs. Thanks to a veto threat from the mayor, the council reduced its tax grab to $275 per employee.
Seattle’s taxing history is not new fodder for this space. We’ve documented more than a few of their fiscal antics; which leads to my point. None of the other taxes, of which there are many, has sated Seattle’s spending beast. And while this new garnishment comes packaged as a way to address homelessness, how long before it becomes a revenue stream in need of adjustment to address other pressing issues?
One of my first order objections to new taxes is that once you open that door, it only ever opens wider and never closes. There’s little to no chance of going back. You’ll almost never repeal it. And it is exponentially easier to increase a tax than reduce it.
Give a government a tax, and it will “teach” you to live with it no matter how big it or the story behind it gets.
While businesses who approach the current trigger for paying the tax (currently 20 million gross annually) look for creative ways to keep the reporting under that ceiling, the city will be coming up with reasons to lower that threshold to grab more “revenue.” And they will find them.
More money for homelessness. Opioid treatment infrastructure. Homes for homeless illegal immigrant opiate addicts. Pay and benefit hikes for city union employees.
Conversely, at some point, the price per head will also have to rise because there is no “enough” when it comes to Democrats and spending your money. The $275.00 compromise must evolve (with inflation plus a hefty adjustment for poor money management.
The taxed entities – currently calculated as 585 Seattle-based businesses – can and will try to offset the new plunder. They may raise prices on products or services. They will may benefits, salaries, wage increases, and hiring. They wcould embrace forms of automation that (until it occurs to the city of Seattle) provide productivity that is not taxable under the current arrangments.
[The Seattle Kiosk (or Automation) tax can’t be far behind but will be pegged to a higher per unit cost so they can sell it as a job-creating tax.]
All the while, consumers get screwed which in the case of Amazon and Starbucks, are people all across the country.
Amazon just raised the cost to be a Prime member. I can’t help thinking we should expect to see that again next year.
As for Starbucks, I’m not a fan of pretentious coffee poured by pretention Baristas, in pretentious sizes, for pretentious virtue-signally corporate yahoos. And yes, I used to carry my concealed firearm into your places of business (I liked the frozen drinks, hate the coffee) because that much pretentiousness attracts swarms of Apple-Device worshipping, thin-skinned, mentally unstable, victim class hooligans just looking for an opportunity to snap.
I advise you do the same if you can’t stop going. But don’t be surprised if the prices go up a bit. Seattle has an addiction problem that’s not going away anytime soon, and someone has to pay.