It should have been a tax based on revenue, so that it targeted the financial footprint of the company, rather than punishing companies for employing lots of people.
In saying that, I tend to dislike 'special' taxes like these.
Is that not a bad thing? A chair might be a bad comparison, because a chair is essential to workplace ergonomics and therefore the health of employees, but this tax has no direct benefit to the workplace. If our assumption is that hiring employees is one of the most important functions of our society, then shouldn't the barriers to hiring employees be kept as absolutely low as possible?
Which taxes do?
That's not to say that tax funds are always perfectly allocated ... of course they're not. But they're not worthless either.
Or do you mean global revenue?
Despite (or because?) of the increase in spending in homeless services in NYC, the number of homeless has increased significantly close to a high of around 76k on a single night in 2017 
Is the Seattle plan  somehow different (aside from the dollar amount) from that of New York?
2. Tax should be evenly distributed
If you want jobs, don't tax jobs.
Amazon may be a large employer, but its not the only employer. Everyone should be taxed in proportion.
What they should tax is land use per sf of lot (not sf of the building).
Now people who use a lot of land, or who use the land inefficiently, pay the penalty.
It should also apply equally to everyone who uses the land from large private home owners to small bookstore and cafe owners.
I know there is property tax on the value of the property, but that is a different incentive (to build cheap). This is the incentive to use the space efficiently. So use some amount per sf of lot (say $0.5? I don't know how much that would raise).
Do you think all taxes should be punitive? Are you against personal income and sales taxes, and business profit taxes?
So if one is planning a tax regime, you should think long and hard about the first and second order effects of your planned taxes. Unfortunately too many in government and politics don't think about this.
This is why it's interesting to consider taxes that aren't tied to activities, or activities that are extremely resistant to change, e.g.
- taxing land doesn't impact the supply of land, as (aside from melting ice caps and land 'reclamation' projects) the amount of land on Earth is fixed.
- taxing human existence (e.g. an annual per capita flat tax) doesn't impact the number of humans
However, there is a trade-off in these cases. Look at the examples you gave: personal taxes are progressive and sales tax is regressive.
I think they are discouraging whether or not you want them to be.
In this case there was a distinct purpose behind the tax (helping those who cannot afford housing costs).
A very modest tax on the highest income tiers, provides the funding necessary to build new low income housing, keep improving transportation, and to combat homelessness, while not negatively targeting the jobs for the non-rich.
They have a very nice, gilded problem, of trying to not die from economic gorging. The people of Seattle should be putting their considerable resources behind aggressive lobbying in the state, to convince voters to enact a state income tax.
But this is a very specific effect you are after: the wealthy spending less on housing.
That is to say, suppose there is a wealthy person and they are choosing between a new yacht and a new house, you want this policy to very specifically move them from the house to the yacht because of the scarce land.
You said you this matter or factly, but it's a core point in the debate between left and right political economics, at least in America.
The demotivating effects of taxes are said to be offset by the moral imperative for those with to help those without.
The amount of relative positive and negative added by each policy is difficult to quantify, confusing the already difficult philosophical argument.
No one in the US argues that taxing something reduces the amount of it that (legally) occurs.
I am not suggesting taxing or not taxing, or lowering or raising the tax.
I am advocating a change in the form of the tax.
This preserves the moral imperative.
So its not the behavioral effects of the policy that are confusing the philosophical argument, it is the philosophical argument confusing the study of the effects.
This is the right move
Further, when discussing politics, giving money to politicians leads to corruption, kickbacks, and other waste.
Finally, politicians have shown time and again they are awful businessmen. Boston’s Big Dig, Seattle’s tunnel under the city, California’s high speed rail, and I could go on and on and on.
No, it’s not better to give the money to corporate executives - they have no incentive at all to spend the money wisely. When you’re spending other people’s money, the incentive to do what’s best for the money disappears.
Further, when discussing business, giving money to businessmen leads to corruption, kickbacks, and other waste.
Finally, executives have shown time and again they are awful businessmen. HP's Itanium, Tharanos' nanotainers, and I could go on and on and on.
It's laughable that we pretend to care about democracy, but most of us spend a large part of our lives in these dictatorships we call work.
This is very obviously not correct
>Further, when discussing politics, giving money to politicians leads to corruption, kickbacks, and other waste.
Thus we should give no money to governments at all! What societies have flourished under this ethos in human history?
>Finally, politicians have shown time and again they are awful businessme
So are many businessmen! 9 of 10 startups fail. Humans are not good at things. The success of a project depends less on whether it is run by a government or a private enterprise, and more on who is running it and how good of a job they do. NASA landed men on the moon when computers were made of cheese, they have been landing robots on mars successfully more recently, the roads get built, we drive on them, europe is smashing atoms in a huge collider learning how the universe works, the police have kept order, the US military stopped the nazis.
You're implying that 6 city councillors, elected and paid into the position are inherently not trustworthy enough to manage city funds, simply by vice of being part of government?
And yet, Amazon, who will spend nothing on these schemes and are even less accountable than the councillors, will make better use of it?
This sounds like you want to eliminate all government and tax.
Would be amusing to see I suppose.
Yes, because I don't equate being rich and 'successful' with having a social conscience. If anything I'm more inclined to believe that rich and successful person didn't do it by being a paragon of virtue.
And what exactly do you think Amazon's incentives are?
To the city? Come on now.
There are many people in Seattle who stand to benefit more from having better roads, schools or provision for homeless people. Some of them, shockingly, are not Amazon shareholders or even Amazon customers. Why would they trust Jeff Bezos to help more than even an unusually inept public official with their problems, when providing such services to the people of Seattle without charge is manifestly not in the financial interests of the average Amazon shareholder?
Also, do you think it's interesting how everyone who disagrees with you is downvoted into low-contrast?
Not sure when that changed.
Friedman argued it was good for corporations to be greedy, and corporate America liked that idea.
Their views on people as individual self-interested rational actors are so narrow and simplistic.
Why is Amazon, the corporation, with offices in 30 countries, under any obligation to help people in a city where they're headquartered, who don't work there or own shares?
You sure seem to be on this thread frequently with some hard opinions and loose facts.
Edit: these number are for 2017.
I don't live in the US, and I've never been to Seattle, but if you can't 'solve' homelessness with 180 million, what's an extra 50 million going to do?
I'm not saying the problem isn't worth fixing - it definitely is! But Yikes, that sure does seem like a lot doesn't it.
Even if it was the solution isn't to stop paying taxes and get rid of the government. That's throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Perhaps the idea is to tax labor to speed up the adoption of automation technology?
This would be a vote by all Seattle residents to determine the need for the tax. Are you saying that Amazon is going to somehow rig the election?
I'm just pointing out that it's interesting that the day after articles started coming out that the signature effort was way over their goal of getting this tax on the ballot for November election the city council decides to vote on a repeal.