Week in Geek Podcast: Seattle is taxing big business and tech is pissed — what happens now?


Workers, homeless service providers, and affordability advocates pack the Seattle City Council Chambers to push for and against the head tax. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

The Seattle City Council passed a controversial head tax on big businesses, prompting outcry from the city’s tech giants and unearthing white-hot passion on both sides over the region’s fast growth and seemingly unstoppable homelessness crisis

But despite the heated debate, Seattle’s boom and the accompanying social issues are far from resolved. Amazon said it is questioning its growth in the city, prompting fears of lost jobs and an economic downturn. On the flipside, a recent study said Seattle needs additional hundreds of millions of dollars each year to handle the homelessness crisis.

So what happens now that the dust has settled? Can the tax make headway towards solving the city’s problems? How can the city council and the tech industry mend the rift? And would it really be all that bad if Amazon and other companies stopped adding new jobs? We debate on this episode of the Week In Geek.

Plus, on the Random Channel: High-powered business leaders and Yanny vs. Laurel.

Listen to our conversation in the player below or subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast in your favorite podcast app to hear every episode.

This week’s stories:

  • Seattle passes smaller ‘head tax’ on Amazon and other big companies after impassioned debate
  • Amazon responds to tax vote: Seattle’s ‘hostile approach and rhetoric … forces us to question our growth here’
  • Starbucks joins Amazon, lambasting Seattle’s new head tax on top-grossing companies
  • Redfin CEO breaks ranks with tech community in maverick response to ‘unreasonable’ Seattle tax
  • After Seattle passes ‘Amazon tax,’ mayor of neighboring city says ‘Bellevue is open for business’
  • March on Amazon HQ: Seattle housing activists demand ‘head tax’ on big business
  • How Amazon could end its Seattle tax battle and tackle one of the world’s biggest problems
  • Tech workers, labor unions, and housing advocates pack Seattle City Hall to debate tax on big business

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