Councilwoman to Kshama Sawant: Printing 'Tax Amazon' signs on city copier is wrong

Socialist Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said Monday that council resources should not be used to further the interests of the Chamber of Commerce.

The remark came after fellow Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw addressed Sawant’s use of city resources to print fliers that say “Tax Amazon.”

Those signs were used by protesters during a May 12 rally against Amazon, during a May 3 rally against Amazon and at other events, though specific dates weren’t mentioned when Sawant was addressed Monday.

“I do not share the anti-business animus that I feel that you are sponsoring,” Bagshaw told Sawant. “And I also want to acknowledge that on multiple occasions I’ve seen your staff using our copiers to print your signs, most recently the 'Tax Amazon' (signs) by the Affordable Housing Alliance.

I just don’t think it is right for us to be using city resources or the copy machines to promote something that not all of us agree to.”

Sawant said Bagshaw was welcome to her opinion and that she appreciated her honesty. Sawant urged all council members to openly state where they stand and, while she did not agree with Bagshaw’s opinion, she claimed it was rare to see a council member state an opinion.

"The animus, as Councilmember Bagshaw talks about, is the struggle of working people to find affordable housing in this city. And as a matter of fact, our affordable housing alliance and our housing movement has been the most vocal in stating that we do not want this tax to land on small businesses.

And as far as the council resources, I think -- you can choose not to use your office for really fighting for the interests of working people and to build movements. I strongly believe that council resources should absolutely be used to build social movements and not for furthering the interests of the chamber of commerce.”

City Council passes head tax Monday 

Later on Monday, the Seattle City Council passed a five-year, $275 employee head tax.

KIRO 7 conducted an exclusive poll of Seattle voters with Strategies 360, asking people what they thought about the head tax and homelessness. The results were revealed on KIRO 7 Morning News.

Follow this link to read a summary of KIRO 7's poll on the head tax and homelessness, and use this link to see the full detailed results of the KIRO 7 head tax and homelessness poll.

Union workers’ earlier protests

The head tax vote came after multiple protests by union construction workers who chanted “no head tax” opposing the initial proposal of $500 per employee. The $275 number was proposed by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

On May 2, Amazon said it stopped construction planning for a new building at Seventh Avenue and Blanchard Street and was exploring options to sublease space to another company in a tower being built at Rainier Square that the company planned to occupy itself.

The spaces were for 7,000 new Amazon jobs.

Durkan indicated that those jobs would remain in Seattle if a lower head tax was achieved. Amazon did not immediately address the head tax Monday.

“Missing out on the creation of the 7,000 jobs that Amazon has put on pause would result in a $3.5 billion loss in regional economic output,” according to a release from ECONorthwest, a Northwest economic consulting firm.

Follow this link to read a timeline on the Seattle head tax and the homeless response.

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