Vulcan, Kroger, Albertsons and Howard Wright have made similar pledges, says a report listing 40 pledges totaling more than $325,000. Other well-known Seattle companies donating include Dick’s Drive-In and Uwajimaya.
Amazon and Starbucks are among companies that have promised to cut large checks to a campaign collecting signatures for a referendum to repeal Seattle’s head tax.
Both Seattle-based global giants have pledged $25,000 to the “No Tax on Jobs” effort, according to a report filed Wednesday with the city’s elections commission.
The report covers the campaign’s activity on May 17, the day before business leaders went public about the effort. It lists 40 pledges from companies and individuals, totaling more than $325,000.
The immediate and substantial backing for the referendum underscores just how vehemently a number of businesses oppose the new tax.
Other companies listed as having pledged $25,000 are Vulcan, Kroger, Albertsons and Howard Wright.
Vulcan is Paul Allen’s real-estate company. Kroger is the parent company for QFC and Fred Meyer. Albertsons is the parent company for Safeway.
Wright is the CEO of Seattle Hospitality Group and a partner in businesses that own and operate the Space Needle and the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
Other well-known Seattle companies on the pledge list include Dick’s Drive-In and Uwajimaya supermarket.
The tax will be $275 per Seattle employee per year for companies that gross at least $20 million annually in the city — an estimated 3 percent of businesses.
Scheduled to be collected starting in 2019, the tax is expected to raise about $47 million per year through 2023.
The Seattle Times editorial board last week called for a referendum to overturn the head tax (The Times’ news operation is independent from its editorial board).
The newspaper’s president, Alan Fisco, said the company did not plan to contribute financial support to the No Tax on Jobs campaign. Fisco previously said The Times would be subject to the tax.
Last year’s point-in-time count — a one-night snapshot of the homeless population — tallied 11,643 people across King County. The number of people who received homeless services in 2017 was far greater than that.
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“Seattle’s exploding homeless population is a symptom of our city’s extraordinary economic growth and astronomical home prices,” SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, a union representing health-care workers, said in a statement last week.
“The corporations who are profiting most … should rightfully pay a fair fee to address the problems they create,” the statement said.
Some City Council members initially proposed a $500-per-head tax but were blocked by their colleagues and Durkan, who signaled she would veto the legislation.
Though many businesses opposed the tax, Amazon in particular put pressure on the mayor by threatening to abandon some Seattle growth plans.
The retail behemoth stands to pay more than $10 million for the tax next year.
The referendum campaign is chaired by James Maiocco, chief business development officer with Pushpay, a Redmond-based tech firm.
The campaign’s secretary is Saul Spady, president of an advertising company and grandson of Dick Spady, the founder of Dick’s. No Tax on Jobs wants to put a referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot, Spady said last week.
To qualify for November, the campaign must gather 17,632 valid signatures from registered Seattle voters by mid-June.
Separate from the tax, the City Council passed a resolution calling for 66 percent of the tax revenue to be spent on affordable housing. Final decisions on spending for 2019 will be made in the budget this fall.