Seattle Enacts “Jumpstart Tax”, Amazon Leases Elsewhere

So Seattle has been trying to tax headcount / payroll for a couple of years now. One city council member dubbing it an “Amazon Tax”. They finally got it, 1.4% of salaries over $150k.

Amazon fails to renew lease in Seattle, moving offices to Belview…

Gee, wonder if higher taxes, no police protection, and riots have anything to do with it?…

Thus assuring only lower wage jobs stay in town.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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22 Responses to Seattle Enacts “Jumpstart Tax”, Amazon Leases Elsewhere

  1. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    At the founding of the Nation there was a concept that those that had been successful in life should give back to the country by serving as “public servants.”
    At least that is something frequently suggested. I won’t be looking for an original source.
    Today the new concept seems to be a person feels entitled to tell others what to do via a public position, while finding ways to enrich themselves. The internet description is “trougher”. ( Link)
    The Seattle city council critters (link below) seem hell-bent on spending other people’s money in ways many of us do not approve.
    If I lived there, I’d move.

    Salary, perks, and 4 or 5 aides to do whatever aides do:

  2. R. M. says:

    This is why the obsession with national elections. The idea being that if one idea gains purchase everywhere then there would be nowhere for those who “pull the cart” to escape to. Thankfully there are still many good places to get away from overbearing politicians.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    Bureaucrats and politicians constantly search for new avenues of to tax and regulate, It is after all their fundamental reason for existing. They will continue until they are destroyed. Their destruction only happens when the society that they infest is destroyed by their greed for wealth and power strangles it. The people, in their misery, ether rise up and kill them, or just walk away refusing to create any additional wealth for them to confiscate.

    In thousands of years of civilization,This Always Happens. About 300years per cycle of boom and bust, from the start of organization until the point where organization becomes strangulation and collapse.

    Educated people claim that weather changes or outside pressures are the cause of the destruction, but, those are only “the straw that broke the Camels back” and not the actual cause, Free people without the parasitic drag of bureaucracy always adapts and creates more wealth then they consume. Only a highly regulated society lacks that flexibility.

    Right now America has been locked into a bureaucratic straitjacket that is rapidly consuming it’s stored wealth as a third of it’s wealth creators are regulated into stand still and their entrepreneurship to create is stifled. Bureaucrats of course provide “essential” services and so must continue unabated in their programs This can not continue for long before the pressure erupts, It becomes them or Us! Everyone Knows this but it continues the same, as politicians and bureaucrats jockey for more power and wealth confiscation to feed their lust for MORE !.

    IT is them or us, We don’t need them…pg

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    Well said.

    One point on camels…

    In very good times, the Crap Burden keeps increasing until all resilience margin is confiscated. Population rises to the carrying capacity limit. Food supply becomes more “just in time each year”.
    Population urbanized to the limit of health as disease increases.

    Then some minor Aw Shit can push the whole thing into cascade failure.

    A few bad years reduces food supply. A weaker population gets a big rise in disease. A sick and hungry population can’t pay the taxes. The infrastucture can’t be maintained. Angry people start to destroy faster than builders can build.

    The end game is war (civil or not) and economic collapse. Look at the history of The Bronze Age Collapse as a great example. A wealthy multinational economy with lots of trade collapsed into dark age ruin in about 50 years.

    It looks like the trigger event was a solar minimum moving the rain band such that grain failure happened in anatolia to the levant. Famine cause bronze trade to fail (as tin was imported down the silk road). Bronze was critical to their tooling and military. As those failed, chaos and wars destroyed the cities. As all the nations depended on others for particular goods, failure of one led to failure of more, then all.

    Key lessons:

    Excess capacity and resilience are critically important.

    Flexibility in crop production, especially in terms of water need and cold tolerance, is critical too.

    Self reliance for essentials of food, water, tooling, materials, transport and other critical infrastructure; at least at a survival level, is essential.

    Expect the solar cycle to repeat. Prepare for it.

    Be ready to defend against your ill prepared trading “partners”.

    Unfortunately, the Globalists have been busy destroying all those things for decades, and we are entering a solar minimum.

  5. Tonyb says:

    I don’t know where Belview is. Resumably close to Seattle so they can retain their workforce?

    Has this move been planned for some time or was it definitely precipitated by the tax and the riots?

    It looks a very different place to the one portrayed in Frasier. I suspect if that was being filmed today they wouldn’t have chosen Seattle


  6. E.M.Smith says:

    10 miles east on I-90 across a lake. Most likely closer to most folks homes in the suburbs east. Those commuting from south just take 405 instead of 5. Very easy tax dodge move.

    Amazon had bought a BIG plot of land for expansion, put on hold a year or two back when a similar law was proposed. They then announced this move just after this law passed AND announced cancellation of the big project. I think that shows they are moving due to tax abuse.

  7. YMMV says:

    About as close as you can get to Seattle without being in Seattle. Certainly in Greater Seattle. But is it far enough away? It’s still in Washington, which has California like politicians.,_Washington

    Look at the top ten employers.

    As of 2018, one in three Bellevue residents was born outside the United States. About half of residents identify as a person of color or ethnic minority.

    According to a 2012 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $88,073, and the median income for a family was $104,839. The per capita income for the city was $48,719.

    In 2006, Bellevue was rated one of the 25 safest cities in America, based on the per-capita incidence of violent crime.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    It is certainly close enough for a 3 year lease on high end offices for all your “over $150K” folks (the point where the payroll tax kicks in) who need to interact with each other a lot.

    Then you have time to dump that Big Lot you bought some years back then put on hold, while getiing a new one, and building out a new HQ out of area. Also gives 3 years for key folks to sell homes and move to the new place, if desired, and arrange local longer term offices for anyone not willing to move.

    FWIW, at one time I was Director of Facilities for a tech company, so I’ve done this kind of stuff. I’ve moved a building in a week or so.

    Oh, and remember that your expensive staff can be officially housed / home office in one city, but “hotel” as needed in another. Hotelling is where you have generic offices and cubes, and staff check in to one of them as needed. So nearly instantly your staff can be officially resident in one office, but visit the other daily. As I.T. Director at another company (telecom) I had one office in downtown San Jose and another 40 or 50 miles away in Alameda. How much I spent in each was up to me as we had IT. staff and facilities in each.

    Note that Google (and some others) run their own busses to take employees to their newer distant offices. Some folks (executives) commute in from housing in the Sierra Nevada via company biz jets. Given the salary range involved, Amazon could just run a shuttle plane & bus service from Seattle to “wherever” for employees uninterested in moving. Were I setting this up, I’d plan on that for a few years.

  9. philjourdan says:

    Bezos is all in on no police protection. But he hates it when they tax him, so I got to go with the higher taxes.

    When relocating is easy, imposing onerous taxes is foolhardy.

    Hint Sonny Coumo and Clemenza DeBlazio.

  10. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    Use Google Earth and then “Street View” at this location:
    47.55122, -122.079737

    Look at the housing. Not far away are apartments. Much of this development is so new there are not Street Views.
    Bellevue is just 10 miles to the NW.
    A corporation that subjects its best people to daily trips into downtown Seattle ought to be charged with criminal intent.

  11. gallopingcamel says:

    p.g. and Chiefio,
    As you point out taxes are straws that break the camel’s back.
    Fortunately, camels have been around for almost 200 million years so they have learned a few tricks. Most of them vanish before the taxes increase.

  12. gallopingcamel says:

    Expanding on my previous comment camels can survive in harsh environments but they will still vote with their feet if food and water are easier to obtain in another jurisdiction:

  13. pinroot says:

    @pgsharrow re: 300 year boom/bust cycles
    That makes me think of this quote: “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”
    Seems like we’re somewhere in the latter two.

  14. YMMV says:

    Hard times create strong men.
    The thirties depression. Not all of those strong men were good. Led to even harder times and then to WWII.
    Strong men create good times.
    Postwar boom in US, not so much elsewhere. Baby boom. Rock music.
    Good times create weak men.
    Baby boomers grow up, spoiled, idealistic.
    And, weak men create hard times.
    Not so much weak in body as weak in the head.
    Not so much hard times in affluence, hard times as in troubled times.
    We are in peaking hard times, as the hard times hits the fan.
    It’s started. You haven’t seen nothin’ yet.

    Was the original quote a Chinese proverb?

  15. jim2 says:

    The need for common employees to meet can be handled online in many cases. I’ve been working from home and I do occasionally miss some coworkers, but there are some that really like the social interaction.

    Face to face interaction includes more “body” influence – intimidation, approval, etc. So maybe the long d**ks need to meet in one place.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    Saw another video by this same real estate guy saying Amazon is moving 10,000 workers to Bellview… So not just the top layer execs. I think they are making a statement…


    I had the bizarre experience of a contract at Adobe where we would all congregate in a conference room, then run some MicroSoft program (IIRC) to share a presentation space, and do show and tell on our laptops. So you had this room full of people all staring at laptops for the “meeting”.

    Now the odd bit. I have a Very Good People Reader. In the presence of a person I pick up all sorts of cues as to what they are thinking and can get help with hearing issues via modest lip reading skills. In this virtual meeting, meeting, the faces were more “watching TV slack” and visual cues were absent. I felt like I was suddenly half blind…

    Folks would talk at each other without eye contact, and without the facial expression feedback that comes with it.

    Since one of my more important ‘value adds’ on management contracts was the ability to ‘read the crowd’ and then ‘work the crowd’, it was a very much harder task there.

    I also very much wondered why in hell they had us all go to that same room to then all be in our own separate head spaces and without person to person interactions. Oh Well.


    I don’t think it was the Boomers who were weak. We did a lot of hard stuff. Vietnam war, as just one example. BUT, the kids of the Boomers are very much the weak generation needing safe spaces and hand holding. IMHO, it was the Boomers who raised the weak generation. That whole “helicopter parenting” and “no spanking”.

    I went out of my way to NOT do those things. As a result, my kids are fully self reliant and not afraid of taking on problems. FWIW, they have thanked me & spouse for having them be raised to be strong, and complained about others in their generation being dependent and unable to take responsibility. I’ve also had other parents ask why our children were so well behaved (when they were little). My reply was “We spank them when they get out of line.”

    Oddly, didn’t need to ever spank them again after the first couple at about age 3. They learned quickly that actions had consequences and defiance of authority had big consequences. (They also became expert ‘negotiators’ ;-)

  17. pinroot says:

    >Was the original quote a Chinese proverb?
    It sounds like one, but it comes from “Those Who Remain” by G. Michael Hopf.

  18. H.R. says:

    E.M.: (They also became expert ‘negotiators’ ;-)

    They also become astute lawyers. You can’t be colloquial and you must be specific and inclusive.

    “But you said never put the cat down the toilet. You never said don’t put a whole roll of paper towels down the toilet.”

    Those of us with kids all experienced the Legal Beagle phase they go through. Mostly their leagal jujitsu is of the form. “But you never said don’t do ___________________.”

  19. cdquarles says:

    As a Boomer, I don’t get the “no spanking” thing. My family and those families I saw around me most definitely did spanking. Not only could they and would they spank you if needed, they’d tell your parents and you got a second spanking. All of the schools before college/university I attended had spanking. At the university, we were expected to be adults. Sure, there were some who did dumb things (like the ‘prank’ done to get a teetotaling student to chug alcohol and get a minor case of alcohol poisoning). My children were spanked if they needed it, but they mostly didn’t; like I was.

  20. cdquarles says:

    @H. R.
    Yeah, sounds like teenagers ;p.

  21. YMMV says:

    “IMHO, it was the Boomers who raised the weak generation.”

    I was overly specific. Cultural change is gradual. You are right to point out parenting.
    Dr. Spock, the guidebook many boomers were raised to, which led to the next generations being different, among other things.

    There is a similar Chinese aphorism: “wealth does not pass three generations” or “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”.
    This is from Quora:

    Much of the aphorism comes from opportunity. The first generation doesn’t have wealth, doesn’t have an enrivonment of education, and can’t afford to choose any career they want. Their only opportunity is to be an entreprenuer and work hard.

    They give their children something they never had, educational opportunities. Their children take advantage of those opportunities and become doctors, lawyers, engineers. Their children earn a good living and give the grandchildren material comfort such that the grandchildren are not worried about finances.

    The grandchildren are able to do whatever they want in life. College is secure, but also, perhaps, is their monetary needs for their lives. So they choose careers which delight them. They become ski instructors, musicians, poets, playwrites and artists.

  22. jim2 says:

    My parents used hands, belts, and switches. School used paddles. It may or may not have worked depending on the rear in question.

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