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Seattle passes smaller ‘head tax’ on big companies after impassioned debate (geekwire.com)
45 points by derek 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

> City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8B in 2010 to $4.2B in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018. This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem

That quote (from Amazon representatives) implies that revenue is non-linear to population -- but that expenses should be linear. I don't buy into that view. Especially in a "boom".

Meanwhile real estate prices have gone up 2-300% in the same timeframe, and they are building light rail to deal with the gridlock.

Very slowly for many parts of the city - Ballard is looking at a 2030+ timeline to get a light rail expansion.

That said, it's better than nothing!

The expense-to-marginal-population curve shouldn't even be linear--it should be logarithmic. As a city grows, you would expect it to get better at accommodating population increases (by reforming regulation and from investment flowing into local infrastructure projects and making the building process more efficient, as well as workers gaining experience in building the projects).

Assuming all other variables stay the same -- with such a large revenue increase you'd assume some would be changing substantially.

This seems a little silly - it's an irritation, but it's not big enough to amount to anything really. If anything, it hurts lower-end positions more than any other, since it's a flat head tax. If you're counting the beans closely, it starts to make sense to hire 9 people with the salary you might have allotted to 10, and so forth.

All this would really seem to do is piss off Amazon and Microsoft and the other big players, which is kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Most Microsoft employees are in Redmond, which already has employee taxes at $106.90/yr, or $0.056/hr for part-time work: http://psbm.net/licenses-taxes/redmond.html

$275/year comes out to a little more than a dollar per business day. With minimum wage being $15/hr in Seattle, this amounts to less than a 1% salary tax even in the maximal case. Making it vary with salary probably wouldn't have much if any impact.

It certainly seems negligible, but it's still makes it more expensive to employ people. Seems like this kind of stuff helps raise the unemployment rate.

It only applies to companies that make $20 million a year. At that point, I don't think someone is going to say we won't an extra person because it's the tax. The $15 minimum wage but the companies a lot more. This is essentially thirteen cents an hour tax.

Sad to watch SF and SEA be the cause of their own slow-motion downfall.

Where exactly do you expect business to go?

In the case of Seattle, Kirkland and Bellevue are host to quite a few small and large tech companies already. The office space is plentiful and cheap on this side of Lake Washington, and there is less of a worry of being hit with poorly planned taxes and regulations that Seattle is, at this point, infamous for enacting.

With the way the housing market is going, and the upcoming King County property tax hike, I wouldn't be surprised if tech workers started creeping out into Snohomish County and favoring jobs on the Eastside instead of Seattle due to traffic.

Traffic from Snoqualmie isn’t great either, nor are the homes a lot less expensive.

The east side is as expensive as Seattle.

The north and east side are the worst places to live in the Seattle area, however, if you are young and without a family. It is very much like comparing San Jose to San Francisco (I say this living in Bellevue and having grown up in Bothell).

i think the east side is the best place to live, the worst place is sodo.

I don't know many young people that agree with that. Families, sure, east and north side is better for schools and such, since it is basically suburbia.

Most of Sodo still isn't zoned for residential.

I have a family and live in the east side :-) I've seen it a million times, people move to seattle, get an apartment, then couple up and buy a smaller condo, have kids, need space, move to the evil eastside.

Well, who knows what it will be like in the future. Seattle isn’t losing population, some more suburban part of Seattle (e.g. West Seattle) are booming also. It is possible that millenials will stay put and not migrate to the east side.

my kid is almost finished with school, I might move to seattle after that.

Seattle has ok schools. I have a toddler, currently living in Bellevue but the thought of him going to school with a bunch of snobs is scary. Maybe move to Mercer island instead :)

redmond has a head tax, they seem to be doing okay. maybe that microsoft company will move somewhere else. /s

East side is far more expensive, and so is office space, head tax notwithstanding. Does the over/under on that work out? My guess is no. Seattle has far better transit, still cheaper housing and office space.

The problem with location is that for almost all the companies I have worked for in the Seattle area, almost every single person lives on the east side (cause we are older, have families, etc and got imported here by Microsoft). New people, those young college kids, they all start in Seattle, whether at amazon or not. When I moved here years ago I wanted to be close to my work, so I was at Microsoft.

90% agree (homes don't look to cheap on the east side). I was recently team matching with google for the seattle area and my girlfriend and I were more interested in the kirkland office over fremont/soon to be SLU because of this.

you don't want to work in downtown seattle for google because of a 275 dollar tax? that's ridiculous. google probably doesn't even have any software engineers working for less than a 100k, and you think about $25 / month?

Not at all. I'm against taxes that cost me more money on the homeless problem while disproportionally effect me more than others. Spending more money locally on the homeless giving them handouts is only going to attract more worsening the problem.

My girlfriend was recently assaulted downtown by a homeless person which is why we liked kirkland when we checked it out because there seemed to be less of them in kirkland.

I think the homeless problem should be tackled on a federal level since it is easy for them to move states but not countries. Thus, any non-federal government that spends tax revenue to help the homeless will likely just attract more homeless people from other areas worsening the local populations lives through the negative externalities and the costs which only reduce other local areas homeless externalities/expenses.

Seattle seems to be growing strong with this methodology which is why I am against taxes like this that incentivize the homeless to move here.

The lack of empathy for those being displaced by huge tech companies moving in and eclipsing everyone else's salary in this thread is incredibly stunning. Not to say that homelessness is entirely caused by this, but its definitely a factor.

91% of the homeless in Seattle are from the greater Seattle region. Home prices have doubled in 10 years, and tripled if you count the bottom of the great recession. Renters have had to move further and further away. Saying there's no effect on people falling into homelessness is both silly and dangerous.

That's not to say Seattle doesn't have some of the blame - they are not great at solving actual problems with their tax money, they're slow, and they don't tend to enforce a lot of quality of life things like panhandlers or break-ins.

But for heavens sake, if you suddenly drop a huge amount of upper class people that buy up all the housing in an area you should have to be at least partially responsible for cleaning up the consequences.

> 91% of the homeless in Seattle are from the greater Seattle region

Don't know where you are getting those numbers but only 20% were born or grew up in king county according to the most recent report: http://allhomekc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2017-Count-U...

And I would be fine spending 10 times this money if there were any indication that it would fix the problem so my girlfriend could actually feel safe walking around downtown without getting assaulted again but it does not seem that way.

I hear you. But as as society we need to make hard choices.

As a society do we value homeless or contributors ( taxpayers ) more?

When you enact policies and taxes like this you reward being homeless and push out people who contribute. You say, 'yes, it's ok to shit on my sidewalk and leave needles everywhere and accost my children as they're walking to school.' And yes, that's an extreme, but it happens everyday in SF. And, to me, it's unacceptable. It's unacceptable that we allow that.

In short:

You: "But, What about the homeless people?" Me: "What about my children who have to step over their shit on the way to school?"

You’re saying it’s all or nothing. Contributors will always be valued more in society, but the cycle of poverty at the bottom has very few exit points. Clearly we can do both - I was offering a counterpoint to the person saying they don’t want to live in an area with homeless people. I don’t either, and wealth inequality being closer to the Middle Ages than the 1970s is the largest factor in that

I agree that it does feel like a terrible self-centered choice to be so against this. I'm actually working in Seattle at a smaller software company where I will have to pay that tax. I used to work at Google in Seattle, so I would have had to pay it there too. There's a tremendous problem here with homeless people. I can believe that rich techies coming in and raising prices by increasing demand must have helped push people out of seattle. I want to help, and I support taxing rich people like me to help pay for it. I also want the city to build way more housing so that the prices go down (via usual market forces) and we should also build housing for lower income people with lower prices.

"Feeling bad" as you call it is exactly what exacerbates the problem. And I would argue is why we have so many homeless in the first place.

Yes, feel bad. But we need to be tough too. If you accost my kid on the way to work, you should not be allowed to be on the street. Even if you're homeless. When did homeless become a protected class?

There's 'I want to better myself and get back on the right track' homeless and 'Fuck you, eat my shit kid' homeless. I support the former. And believe the latter should not be allowed on our streets.

Of course we need to figure out how to get homeless people in safe housing, and find jobs and get them treatment. But I don't think helping them encourages people to be homeless or move here. In Utah, they have housing for basically all homeless people now, they are dealing with it better. But our homeless people aren't all wanting to move there.

The belief that if we are "too nice" to homeless people it will encourage them is counter to the facts, with Utah only the latest example. There are plenty of people who live in their cars in south Seattle who have jobs, who want a place to live.

I agree with all of this as well. I am saddened that most of the time it is the rich techies (along with existing landed wealthy people) that come in and prevent any additional housing from being built - I live in an area well known for its NIMBYism.

If they raised everyone's taxes on my pay scale and above by 2%, and un-restricted building in much of the city, it would go a million times further to make it a more livable city for everyone than this tax.

"Rich techies" built this internet you are typing on. I loathe your condescension and resentment toward people seemingly more successful than you.

You think the "rich techies" are out to get you? That they want to displace you? No. 98% of them are just trying to live, just like you and everyone else.

But if we just "raise taxes" everything will be better. Look at our current political, at all scales, system. When recently has giving money to career politicians actually made our infrastructure, education, and healthcare better?

People look to the government as this panacea. I truly don't get it.

I’m a rich techie. I’m loathing the society we have that makes it seem that we can’t actually do anything about it. We created the interstate highway system and roads and bridges and all of our institutions. We could organize and fund an army of people and resources to solve poverty, but we choose not to.

I'm frustrated too.

To escape the lunacy of The Seattle City Council? How about Bellevue, Kirkland or Redmond? The industry in Vancouver is also steadily growing.

The council quite openly sees economic growth as the source of all it's problems, which they have mostly created for themselves. As they have no idea how to manage these problems, and as most of their attempts to do so have in fact made them worse, the only thing they can do to further shirk responsibility is to implement more taxes.

It's hard to see why a business today would plan to base itself in Seattle, or expand on operations there. If Amazon hadn't already completed so much of the construction on its latest building there, I can't imagine they'd be committing to finishing it. Which will all in turn make Seattle's problems even worse.

Going to Vancouver with its far higher taxes to protest a $20m tax on a $xxxbillion company seems like a poor idea to me. Local government need not grovel to those that take advantage of its amenities to attract talent.

The cost of living is less in Vancouver than Seattle, and by extension salaries are lower. This is what has been moving tech companies further up the west coast, so yes it does make perfect business sense.

You also have things perfectly backwards. These companies are what is driving growth in Seattle, not the other way around. These companies are responsible for more than doubling local government revenue in the past decade. The companies create the growth, not the ‘amenities’ of Seattle city.

If you don’t like or don’t know how to manage economic growth, then by all means, make the environment as hostile as you can for businesses. You only need to look at Detroit to see how beneficial it can be when an entire industry leaves town.

> You also have things perfectly backwards. These companies are what is driving growth in Seattle, not the other way around. These companies are responsible for more than doubling local government revenue in the past decade. The companies create the growth, not the ‘amenities’ of Seattle city.

Why in the world would companies insist on staying in the bay area when they could pay people half in Ohio? This is HN, and story after story talks about how VCs /demand/ you locate yourself in the bay for the talent pool.

Seattle is in no danger of becoming Detroit, or an entire industry leaving, not when software skills are as in demand as they are right now. Its in no danger of Amazon picking up and leaving. Reminder, we're talking about $20 million dollars here, which is less than the budget for benches outside their brand new buildings.

I honestly think it would be a great thing for companies to go set up somewhere else and not over-inflate the 4-5 "chosen" tech areas. Maybe then housing prices can get reasonable, and some town that desperately needs any jobs can get started again.

I don't think the industry is going to pick up and leave Seattle, but it undoubtably puts more pressure on businesses that are already finding better places to operate elsewhere. It's these companies that have generated the revenue boom that the Seattle City Council has experienced over the past decade. If it wants more revenue and more jobs in the city, then it shouldn't make it harder for businesses to operate nor should it tax jobs. Especially when there are so many desirable areas to operate directly next door, and especially when all of those areas are already experiencing enormous growth.

I honesty don’t think the city should be concerned with revenue and jobs at this point. The unemployment rate is incredibly low. It should be focused on housing affordability and amenities to make it more livable for everyone who lives there, not just the new upper class who are experiencing all of the benefits already. A place where more people can have security and opportunity. And guess what, that makes for a much better city even for the upper class.

That’s great, but what you’re describing is jobs and growth. Housing is another area where Seattle has failed to manage its resources, so I’m not going to argue that affordability isn’t a problem. But you won’t solve it by stifling growth, which is literally what many in Seattle are advocating. But that security and opportunity you’re talking about, that’s jobs and growth. You can’t argue that the free market has been so successful at creating jobs that you don’t need to worry about it any more. The market forces that brought jobs and booming growth to Seattle can just as easily take them elsewhere.

except housing is about the same as seattle, with much much lower salaries. moving to vancouver doesn't make sense in terms of finances.

Renting is about 30% more expensive in Seattle, and just about every other metric that you can measure costs of living by also favour Vancouver. The fact that Vancouver is on the west coast, and the fact that salaries are lower there than there are in the US is what is currently attracting more technology companies to open offices there. This isn't a theory, Vancouver has Canadas fastest growing tech sector. These are the same conditions that attracted companies to open offices further up the west coast to begin with, only now Seattle doesn't offer the same advantages that it used to.

Average price of a detached house in Vancouver is $1.5 million and avg software salary is C$72,945 per year (completely unaffordable). Average price of a detached house in Seattle is $772,729 and avg software salary is $110,907 a year. Still unaffordable and getting moreso, but doable with dual income.

The cost of buying a house and the cost of living are not the same thing. For instance the price to rent ratio in Vancouver is about twice as much as it is in Seattle. In any case all of this is completely irrelevant. The cost of living and the salaries are lower in Vancouver than Seattle, a fact that isn't up for debate. One of the core factors that have driven technology companies to expand beyond the valley is the cost of salaries, this is one of the reasons that the sector expanded so much in WA, and it's one of the key reasons that it is _currently_ expanding so much in B.C. None of this is theory, or me arguing for what I think will happen, it is what's happening right now.

Back in the day (1990s), Seattle had hardly any tech scene at all and all of the area's tech action was in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond. Today, things are quite changed, with more tech jobs being sought for in downtown Seattle than the east side it seems. It is a really a strange thing to see from a long time resident perspective.

Seattle is oversubscribed, I hope you are right that the companies/startups will move back east to take off the pressure. But somehow I doubt it will happen like that.

In the long term, I can’t see how the east side could possibly fail to attract more businesses. Growth is already increasing in those areas, and there’s so much room for more. The quality of life is also arguably better over there. The more anti-business Seattle is becoming can only hasten this.

The east side is the San Jose of the Seattle area. It isn't hip and happening like the city is. Ya, the rent is cheaper (though not much anymore), houses are bigger, it has a very nice clean suburban feel, you don't trip over needles or homeless people, but many young people find the east side to be too boring.

Course, Microsoft has a bunch of buses they use to move engineers from Seattle to Redmond, but like Google does between SF and Mountain View. I guess that could work, but it doesn't really make the traffic better.

Yeah, that's a fair point. It is certainly less edgy than downtown Seattle. That said, living in Seattle and commuting east is far more doable than the other way around (although that could be subject to change). I also imagine that the east side is more desirable to employees with families, though I have no idea how much of the workforce that actually makes up.

Preferences aside though, the one thing the east has that Seattle City doesn't is abundant space.

These days, the traffic into Seattle is very well balanced with out from Seattle, the reverse commute is kind of dead.

If I knew I'd be moving there. The only thing keeping my friends and I in the bay area are each other and the lack of a clear alternative. If another locations starts to get serious traction I'd expect a phase transition.

in my experience, 90+% of software companies with 100 people have an office in seattle, every job i've looked for for years has an office here.

Somewhere that they get subsidies rather than taxes.

But they have to stay in the bay/Seattle for the talent pool, by their own admission. I think the local government has a lot more power than they think. Which is wrong - the liberal livable areas attract talent, so companies flock to them, or the bottom line is more important so they should do it in a cheaper city? Seems like the former is winning by a mile in the past decade.

Mega cap tech companies need subsidies?

It's not a matter of need, it's a matter of them being able to get them.


I moved out of Seattle a couple of months ago. One of the reasons I left was because I knew this was coming.

Your whining rings hollow.

In spite of all the bitching about California, more people come in than go out.

And, do those areas really care about the kind of jobs that actually could move?

> In spite of all the bitching about California, more people come in than go out.

The truth is the direct opposite[0]:

> California continues to see more folks moving elsewhere in the nation rather than relocating here

> Last year, California had 142,932 more residents exit to live in other states than arrive

> California’s net outmigration has been ongoing for two-decades-plus.

[0]: https://www.ocregister.com/2017/11/16/census-142932-more-peo...

> > In spite of all the bitching about California, more people come in than go out.

This is correct.

> The truth is the direct opposite[0]:

No, even your source doesn't support this. You have confused what your source says about domestic migration with total migration. More people are coming in to California than leaving (the state has positive net total migration) even though more people are leaving California for other states than are coming from other states (negative net domestic migration.)

And also births.

The big issue with the migration differential is that it is expensive to move into California while it is relatively cheap to move out.

So, you need a job and you have to save money to eat the differential (rent increase, security deposits, car registration) if you want to move into the state.

Selling your house in most other states barely gets you a down payment on a house in California.

On the other hand, Californians selling their houses and then paying cash to buy another house in Texas, Oregon, etc. is sufficiently common that most of such places have derogatory terms for it.

So let me see if I understand this. Companies hire people, they become successful and make their employeees successful (at least their non warehouse, non call center employees) making the city and population at large successful; growing the economy. For that good they get taxed more? It’s no wonder AMZ for one is looking for an HQ2 location.

I know it makes people feel good, but honestly, the only answer to homelessness is a federal approach. Piecemeal approaches tend to attract people to homeless friendly places creating a positive feedback loop.

Why not go the whole hog and institute an “automation tax”. Tax companies for every job they automate which leads to an unemployed willing worker, avoiding the creation of a homeless pop. This would be less ridiculous.

There's not a good way to get more revenue to cover the infrastructure needed as companies hire more employees. We don't have income taxes here. If we did, as you hire an employee you'd get more revenue to cover the fractional cost of bus service, etc. A head tax is a way to do that. Are you against income taxes? They could accomplish the same thing.

Florida and Texas do not have income tax and yet they appear to not suffer from the same ailments that the city of Seattle and SF are suffering from.

In a couple of years the city council will move to raise the head tax, stating that their new record tax receipts are not enough to implement their working solution. It is easy to spend money that isn't yours.

The city of Seattle has had record tax receipts for the past couple of years and yet they somehow are always "short" on money.

Saying Seattle has record revenue is just a completely misleading thing to say, without enough information. Your comment doesn't clarify anything about whether Seattle is spending money poorly or wisely. Seattle's costs have been going up, partly because lots more people have been moving here, and we don't have income taxes, and businesses can hire more people without that leading to increased tax revenue. The city has to build more infrastructure to handle us (roads, transit, bike lanes, tunnels). There's no clear match between infrastructure needs and revenue.

As you can see from the data[0] the city itself raises tax through a variety of channels. The largest being property, business, and retail taxes. As you can imagine, when the city grows all those enumerated taxes grow accordingly. As you can see in data[1] the tax receipts for the years 2000 is roughly $600ish million. For the 17-18 fiscal years, according to data[0] Seattle had receipts of $1.1-1.2 billion.

So tax revenues for the city are close to 100% increase. If you see the Census for the year 2000, the population of Seattle is at 564k. For the year 2016, the population is at 750k or so. So a 100% tax revenue increase and a 50% population increase. I'd dare say the city council is just belligerent with other people's money.

Also, there is a legitimate far left socialist on the board. You should watch the Shapiro debate against the Seattle $15 min wage. She's full of ideas with no substance to back it up.



Saying it should be federal problem means nothing will happen. First, half the nation hates anything to do with us evil left coasters. Second, the govt is not that functional, nationally right now.

> making the city and population at large successful; growing the economy

The economy doesn't grow for most of the population, only those with the ability and skills to ride the wave. The rest are pushed out and forgotten. This is like asking why someone like Trump would get elected when GDP is at an all time high.

One question comes to mind... I wonder if this will result in more companies allowing/encouraging remote work. Obviously, it won't work in every case. I just wonder if things like this will push companies more in that general direction.

For a company with multiple locations, they'll just shift jobs to the other locations. Working remotely has become very unfashionable in tech after many studies showed that remote employees are very inefficient.

I haven't heard of these studies. Could you point to one of the best ones?

As someone who has been working from home for the last 4 years, I couldn't disagree with you more.

More real work,

far fewer distractions,

5 second commute vs. 45-60 minutes each way.

That's just for starters.

Citations, please :)

It sounds like a win-win to me. Seattle's housing prices come down and there's more prosperity elsewhere. The only reason everyone is so concentrated in Seattle or the Bay is that the companies insist that they must be there for the talent.

I'm fiscally conservative and I don't mind the tax, it's just very poorly planned. $20M in revenue for businesses is not much. It's a regressive tax, and it is appropriated to homelessness which the city has done a very poor job of dealing with. Money will no doubt be wasted.

I do support a more fair tax in Bay Area that goes directly to transportation and infrastructure improvement

Since we can't do income taxes in washington state, we can't make it a perfect tax, which would be to tax rich software engineers more, and say construction workers and baristas not at all. this tax would be better that way. They try to limit it to people working at big companies. I think they should do something like make it only for people making 100k or something. But would that tip it over into an income based tax, probably?

So what's your idea for how to raise money to deal with homeless people. My idea is copy what worked in Utah, which is start with building tons of housing, enough for all the homeless people.

It's only regressive if lower-sh income workers are impacted by the changes, and I'm not sure this will be the case since wages are in theory derived from the labor market, and this tax will only affect a minority of jobs.

A $21/month tax on each employee. Feels like Amazon could swallow this and might provide some incentive to hire outside the city core.

Last I heard, they were shopping around to build a second Fortress of Dar^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ... ahem ... HQ. Might this be incentive to accelerate things a bit?

I'm not really against the tax but its use. Spending more money on the homeless giving them handouts is only going to attract more worsening the problem.

I think the homeless problem should be tackled on a federal level since it is easy for them to move states but not countries. Thus, any non-federal government that spends tax revenue to help the homeless will likely just attract more homeless people from other areas worsening the local populations lives through the negative externalities and the costs which only reduce other local governments homeless expenses.

If that were true that we are making it too easy to live here in Seattle, then consider Utah, which basically has provided housing for all homeless people. They have not been swarmed with everyone moving there. I have noticed this has not happened in Seattle :-)

The amount of dumb things I hear coming out of Seattle lately blows my mind. Every other city that wears it's "progressive"-ness on its sleeve should take a wait and see approach to what Seattle does, so that when these terrible policies do nothing to fix their problems and exacerbate others (like blaming tech companies for housing shortages in SF) they can hopefully avoid it.

Why not tie this to CEO pay... whatever multiplier the CEO earns (including bonuses) above average workers is what they pay, so say it's 400x they'd pay 400 per head, if it's 200 they'd pay 200... Then the company just needs to pay 1 worker less money to keep more for the business itself and shareholders/etc... Or the business could pay workers more to lower that 400:1 ratio.

Note that "help the homeless" and "reduce homelessness" are two different goals and they are often at odds with each other.

How’re is this tax supposed to fix or ease homelessness?

Several years ago, some friends were looking to purchase a starter home in Seattle, maybe for $250k or so. But they had such a killer deal on rent, they opted to wait a few more years, to save up more money.

Well, in the next few years that dream quickly slipped through their fingers. Now you have to pay upwards of $500k just to get some as-is teardown that you’re not even allowed to look inside before you buy.

Well, taxing something means you’ll usually get less of it, so I guess it’ll reduce demand on housing (probably not what they want since it hurts the economy in other ways). If the money goes to building for those in need it could help a bit.

The only thing that will really help over the long term is building even more apartments.

Shame on Amazon for hiring so many people in the Seattle area with good paying jobs.

How dare people blame the poor and beleaguered city government for not solving the city’s mental health problem. Record tax revenues? It’s still not enough.

Seriously though, isn’t this the deal? Business brings in good paying jobs and pays taxes, city lays down the infrastructure to support commerce. With record tax revenues the city government isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.

Just noting that Seattle has record revenues, is notenough information to understand if Seattle is doing a good job with it's tax revenue. There are more people moving here all the time, so revenue will just go up (like for say sales taxes). It's like saying the government always does a bad job, so the govt. shouldn't do anything - that's just a general statement that doesn't clarify anything. In this case, let's look at the costs and infrastructure the city is facing and the number of people it has to deal with and try to understand if the city's doing a good job or not. I haven't actually read anything that did a good analysis of that.

I agree that this tax probably won't fix the homelessness problem. Whatever has happened to Seattle is much deeper then just homelessness. Amazon and the like have ravaged the city of it's ability to provide functional housing even to service and support workers.

I know this is happening in every city, but it's very pronounced in Seattle. The city shuts down at 9PM because no one lives there and then the homeless spill over into the empty well scrubbed streets.

It's soul has been sucked out and been replaced with techno culture. A weird head tax is a reasonable ding for an exasperated set of natives, but someone has to find a way to balance these concerns. Or not... I shudder to think of what the bay, Seattle, Austin, Denver, Boston, etc are going to become without all the people that make up a city that aren't just there to get their next rung up on the way to be CTO for their own gig app.

Boston has a very active night life scene, as does Austin and SF... not sure why you think these are ghost towns at night

Eh, Boston is pretty dead by midnight, but there's not much open other than bars. I lived out in the country and had a 24 hour pharmacy and supermarket right next to each other but I never something like that in Boston proper

Not quite what I meant. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I mean places that price out culture for the tech scenes have some complicated issues with growth right now.

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