Category Archives: Seattle

Seattle Passes New $240 Million Homeless Tax on Businesses

The Seattle City Council approved a controversial new law that will tax employers in the city about $289 annually for each person they employee with the money going to provide for homeless services. That will allow the city to collect $48 million in new tax revenue each year. Only those business making more than $20 million annually will have to pay the new tax starting on January 1, 2019. The law is set to expire in five years if city officials do not choose to renew it.


There are currently about 10,000 people in Seattle who are homeless. About 2,900 of them sleep on the streets each night. The city says it will use the $240 million to construct 591 affordable units, help pay rent on 302 units and pay for 250 emergency shelter beds. When the law was originally proposed, the city wanted the tax to raise more than $75 million. The city’s mayor, however, said he hoped the new law would raise $40 million.


The new law would apply to about 585 businesses in the city. When the new law was originally proposed Amazon was working on two large expansion projects in Seattle. Amazon says that it will restart the planning of a 17-story office complex where up to 7,000 new employees would work. The company says, however, that they will be further considered if Bellevue, Washington, is a better option for them moving forward.


Starbucks also released a statement slamming the new law. It says that the city’s coffers have grown dramatically as businesses have chosen Seattle as their home. The city took in $2.8 billion in 2010 while in 2017 it took in over $4.2 billion. Starbucks urges officials to realize that companies will start moving elsewhere if they feel that the city is not responsible with its money.

Seattle Fights Homeslessness and Amazon Fights Back

Seattle has imposed a new tax that may have it’s largest companies and employers running for the hills. The new tax is set to charge large companies a high amount per employee to address the city’s homelessness issue. The money gained from the tax will go towards services for the homeless and for affordable housing projects. The tax will only affect companies that make more than 20 million US per year.
Companies like Amazon – which was founded in Seattle and is the world’s second largest company – and Starbucks have threatened to halt growth in the city in response. Amazon has even halted the construction of it’s newest high rise in the city in protest.
Starbucks has also intensely critiqued the new tax, which can be read about in detail here.
Because of protest from these companies and a few others, the city has already lowered the tax from a proposed $500 per employee to $275 per employee, per year. With the amount of employees at Amazon, $10 million alone within the expected $45 million to $50 million total revenue would come from the mega-successful company.
While Amazon doesn’t think this should be their responsibility, campaigners of the tax don’t agree. Supporters of the tax say that Amazons rapid growth in Seattle had consequences in the form of rapid incline in cost of living, leaving tons of residents in their dust. They believe that Amazon should be aware of this and do their part in fixing the problem, seeing as their company and founder are some of the wealthiest in the world.
Despite the resistance, the tax was voted in unanimously. The next few years will prove to tell if the tax will truly improve Seattle’s homeless crisis.

Seattle TV Station Pays Off Debts for 1,000 People

KIRO 7, a local television network in the city of Seattle, has given back to its viewers in a very big way. After airing a story about the medical debt of several people in the state of Washington, the station purchased over a million dollars in outstanding fees, relieving the financial burden previously imposed on over a thousand people.

According to the KIRO 7 report, the station “worked with a company out of New York called RIP Medical Debt. They made the purchase on our behalf and we do not know who is getting relief, so it could cover just one doctor’s visit or one test.”

Those who received debt relief can now expect to receive a yellow envelope in the mail with the KIRO 7 logo on it, informing them of their new found luck.

KIRO 7 was assisted in the mission to relieve the debt of people across the state by the generous donations of thousands of viewers, all of whom were eager to help after watching a heartbreaking story about families going into bankruptcy after an illness.

As it turns out, according to their findings, “medical debt is the number one cause for personal bankruptcy” in the United States, and despite the passing of laws and the coverage of insurance companies, it still shatters thousands of lives each and every year.

While the generosity of KIRO 7 will certainly help improve the lives of many people suffering from medical debt, it is only a drop in the bucket of a larger problem. If you would like to assist in the mission to alleviate the pain of medical debt from those affect, feel free to check out and give as much or as little as you can!

Judge Rules That Seatlle Will Not Have a Citywide Income Tax

Seattle has been wanting to implement a citywide income tax. However, this income tax will not come to be. A judge ruled that such an income tax is against the constitution of Washington State. Many residents are happy with the decision that was made by the Superior Judge of Kings County. Attorneys who argued against the tax said that this decision is a victory for every taxpayer in Seattle.

The income tax, which was passed by the city and its legislators, said that people who live in Seattle and who earn more than $240,000 a year, or people who earn more than $500,000 a year if they are filing taxes jointly, have to pay a 2.25% income tax.

The State Constitution and previous legal rulings clearly state that a city or county in Washington State cannot tax net income. The city said that there is a difference between net income and total income. However, the judge ruled otherwise, saying that the tax was on net income, and it was therefore unconstitutional.

Another argument that was made by the city was that it was not an income tax at all but an excise tax. They argued that an excise tax, which is levied on citizens for choosing to do something voluntarily, is okay. They argued that earning a wage by working is something that is voluntary, and that living in Seattle is voluntary, and if someone wants to they can move out of Seattle to a nearby suburb or just not work, so taxing income is not a problem. However, the judge decided that that was not the case. Voters in Washington have consistently voted down local income taxes. Most voters do not want additional taxes levied upon them by their local city or county.

Seattle, Washington has the Nation’s Second-Best Tech Market

Seattle, Washington is popular Pacific coast city that is located on the northwestern part of the country. This city is known for its grunge bands, sports teams, rainy weather, the Space Needle and technology market. That’s right. In case you did not know, Seattle now has the nation’s second-best technology market in the country.

Seattle’s move to the second-best technology market is no accident. Many tech companies and tech grads and employees have been relocating to Seattle for years. This city has recently overtaken Washington D.C. which is another major tech area. Many tech organizations and personnel have relocated to Seattle because of the projects that are taking place within this city and because of the talent. The city has a whopping 64% population that possesses a bachelor’s degree.

Many of people who possess this degree have some type of tech related certification. This is a huge amount of tech workers within the city. They are very educated and highly competent individuals that look to give Silicon Valley a run for its money.

While this might be true, Seattle still has a long way to go before it can replace the tech kingdom in San Francisco. Tech related jobs within the city also pay out close $60,000 a year. This is more than enough money for young professionals to live a comfortable life.

Companies such as Microsoft and Amazon are situated in and around Seattle. These two giants are more than responsible for pulling a lot of tech workers into the area. As more and more workers and businesses relocate here they are quickly helping the city to emerge as a powerhouse in the field of technology development. The complete story of Seattle’s rise to the nation’s second best tech city is available in GeekWire.

Seattle and Various Organizations to Tackle Homelessness Problem

There is such a huge homelessness problem in Seattle that in 2015, the city declared a state of emergency. To tackle this issue, Seattle and various organizations are pitching in efforts. Amazon—yes, you heard it, the company behind—has devoted 47,000 square feet of its new office space to be a Mary’s Place location. Mary’s Place is a nonprofit that runs several homeless facilities meant for families and women. The Mary’s Place location that Amazon is sponsoring will have 65 rooms that will provide safe spaces for more than 200 individuals to sleep in.

In the previous year, Amazon worked out a deal where Mary’s Place would temporarily settle in a hotel located on a lot that Amazon purchased. Mary’s Place will be staying there until the new Amazon campus is completely built. Already, workers at Amazon volunteer their time to work at the shelter and to visit its residents. They help to make the quality of life at the shelter as nice as possible by arranging arts and crafts projects, as well as parties for families. They also bring food. Mary’s Place Residents and Amazon workers are expected to move in together by the early part of 2020. Mary’s Place does amazing work for the health, safety and well-being of women and families.

Tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft are sometimes accused by critics for contributing to a tech boom that has resulted in a crisis of people not being able to attain affordable housing. However, they are making their best efforts to help those in society who are less fortunate. This past April, the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, gave $30 million to help soothe the homelessness crisis in Seattle. In January, companies such as Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, Expedia and Starbucks raised $4.5 million while taking part in a “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign.

Seattle Remains Nation’s Hottest Home Market, With Biggest Price Growth In 3 Years

For the 5th straight month, Greater Seattle has actually signed up the sharpest home-price boosts of any significant market in the nation, as house expenses skyrocketed at their fastest rate in 3 years.


The common cost of a house throughout King, Snohomish and Pierce counties increased 11.3 percent in January compared with a year prior, in accordance with the regular monthly Case-Shiller house cost index.


The Seattle area has actually taken the leading position in the nationwide rankings in each month since September, and cost development has been steadily accelerating after it dipped a little towards completion of 2016.


Portland lagged, once again, with house costs increasing 9.7 percent, followed by Denver, Dallas and Tampa. Seattle’s lead over Portland doubled simply in the last month.


Nationally, costs grew 5.9 percent, a 31-month high. But Seattle’s boost was almost double that. Low stock of houses for sale continues to be an issue both in your area and nationally, increasing competitors for limited houses.


Compared with simply a month prior, house worth in Seattle ticked up 0.6 percent, the 2nd finest in the nation and triple the nationwide average.


The 0.6 percent increase in rates from December to January might not seem like much, however it’s extremely uncommon for this time of year.


Going 3 years back in January throughout the Seattle area, costs really dropped more frequently than they grew on a monthly basis. The month-to-month increase was really the third-highest for any January on record, going back to 1990.


There’s another emerging pattern: For months, the least expensive houses had actually been seeing the greatest cost boosts in the area, while high-end house costs were increasing at the slowest rate. Now, gains in houses at all cost points are increasing at a comparable margin.


The common top-tier house costs 11 percent more than a year earlier, the most significant increase since September 2013.



Seattle Helps Local Nonprofit with Crowdfunding

When InterConnection’s founder, Charles Brennick, parked the company’s donation van at its Fremont headquarters during the holidays, he did not expect it to be stolen. After all, as a non-profit organization, InterConnection is not a prime target for significant theft. They refurbish older surplus computer equipment from individuals or companies to sell at discounted rates to low-income consumers or other nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, the van was stolen over the holidays by a group of people who planned a different use for it. After stealing the donation van, the car thieves apparently then used it in an attempted robbery, damaging the van beyond repair.


This left InterConnection without any means of collecting the equipment donated to them. Donations primarily include electronic equipment such as computers and accessories, which is inconvenient for donors to drop off themselves. The pick-up service is a key part of how InterConnection obtains donations from individuals and businesses. Many of their donors simply don’t have the time or resources to bring the items to the headquarters, which will simply leave the company – and their clients – without donations. The high-demand of these generic vans also makes them a challenge to obtain.


Fortunately, the holiday spirit has not left the city of Seattle. InterConnection quickly started a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, where they’ve raised over $2,000 already. Crowdfunding has become a fast way to notify a wide audience of a funding need, and allow them to securely donate to the cause of their choice. InterConnection is listed as a certified charity, and donations can be made via PayPal.


Seattle Marchers Donate $10,000 to Food Bank

After Seattle closed the streets near St. Mary’s for the Women’s March Saturday, residents donated $10,000 to the food bank.


The food bank at St. Mary’s, located on 20th Avenue South, had to close its doors to its usual customers early due to Saturday’s march. Instead of serving homeless and hungry residents, the food bank opened its doors to allow marchers to use the restrooms. The food bank also donated bottled water to marchers who stopped into the charity. Marchers left cash donations to thank St. Mary’s for allowing marchers access to the food bank’s restrooms and to make up for a cash shortfall the charity is experiencing.


The food bank’s executive director, Alison Alfonzo Pence, told reporters that the donations from marchers would be a big help toward the lack of funds the charity would be dealing with in 2017.


St. Mary’s food bank typically serves upward of 500 Seattle customers each Saturday. Due to the march, the food bank was only able to serve 250 people that morning before having to close. Although the cash donations did not keep some people from going hungry Saturday, the donations will help those same people in the long run.


The Seattle Women’s March drew more than 100,000 Seattle residents to a 3-mile section of the city. Former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn commented that he had never seen such a big march in his city. The march was one of hundreds across the nation that drew millions of people in the United States and internationally to march for women’s rights as Donald Trump was inaugurated at the 45th President.


Although the majority of protests were peaceful, many businesses and charitable organizations had to close their doors to customers Saturday. St. Mary’s food bank was only one of the organizations affected, but the charity was fortunate to gain such a sizable donation from the event.