Skip to main content

Tax Amazon

Tax Amazon to provide emergency COVID-19 relief and build social housing, fund the Green New Deal with massive jobs program

April 17, 2020

Dear friends:

The deadly coronavirus pandemic has shaken our world. More than 2 million people have been stricken with the disease and more than 140,000 people have lost their lives. In the United States, more than 17 million people have lost their jobs, more than 30,000 have lost their lives, and tens of millions face loss of basic needs like food and shelter.

Working people like us throughout our region are in dire straits from the Coronavirus crisis, facing a triple-emergency - illness and loss of loved ones, severe job and income losses, and a housing emergency.

The emergency will, unfortunately, last well beyond 2020. As Harvard economist Kenneth S. Rogoff has said, we might see “the mother of all financial crises.” We cannot afford to wait until the health crisis is over to set in motion the massive jobs and housing investments that workers will need.

That’s why the Tax Amazon legislation, sponsored by my office and by Councilmember Tammy J. Morales, represents both an immediate and a long-term lifeline to working-class households throughout the city.

Our legislation would tax Amazon and the other 2 percent largest companies – those with annual payrolls of at least $7 million – in Seattle. It exempts all nonprofits, grocery stores, government and educational employers, regardless of size.

Amazon Tax Infographic - front
Amazon Tax Infographic - back

Jobs vs. Austerity Infogrpahic

The tax would raise $500 million a year beginning in June 2020, with $200 million dedicated this year to emergency COVID-19 relief to help up to 100,000 working-class households. Beginning in 2021, the tax would fund social housing and the Green New Deal in order to address the city’s critical housing emergency and the climate crisis. The legislation calls for Priority Hire and Community Workforce Agreements for all of the construction and renovation projects, which have the potential to create and support thousands of well-paying, union jobs in the years ahead.

The tax will be paid by only the biggest corporations in Seattle, the ones whose wealth has soared in recent years as working people have struggled.

We will need a powerful movement to win the tax and fund emergency COVID-19 relief, affordable social housing, and the Green New Deal. The Chamber of Commerce, Amazon, and other big businesses are fighting us hard. But we can win, as long as working people organize, speak up, and fight back.

On this page you’ll find resources and ways to get involved in the Tax Amazon fight. In this COVID-19 health crisis, we have to develop creative ways to unite and speak out. Please sign our petition, click on the informational links, and get in touch with my office.

Together, we can prevail, because we know that when we fight, we win!

In solidarity,

Councilmember Kshama Sawant Signature

Kshama Sawant

Seattle City Council