OPINION | Barry Richard: Seattle ‘Head Tax’ Is Government Out of Control
"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]."
That line was often used by former President Ronald Reagan and Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in battling liberal tax-and-spend policies that took from the haves to give to the have-nots. Income redistribution.
Officials in Seattle should have heeded that insight and wisdom. The Seattle Times reports the City Council has voted 9-0 to impose a "head tax" on the city's largest employers in order to battle homelessness. The move threatens the future growth of such giants as Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing and Microsoft.
The new tax, which takes effect in January, targets companies that earn $20 million or more in annual sales, by imposing a 14 cents per employee hour, or $275 per employee annually, assessment. Fox Business reports the tax is expected to generate some $50 million annually towards outreach efforts for the homeless, including affordable housing and emergency shelter.
Amazon's Drew Herdener tells Fox Business that expansion plans in Seatle remain on track for now but, the future is uncertain. Herdener says, " The city does not have a revenue problem - it has a spending efficiency problem. We are highly uncertain whether the city council's anti-business positions or it's spending inefficiency will change for the better."
Massachusetts, which is on the cusp of imposing a so-called millionaires tax and a $15 minimum wage, should pay close attention to what is going on in Seattle. Savaging business is bad for jobs and ultimately the economy. Just ask the folks at Fall River's soon to be gone Phillips Lighting.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.