Socialist Linchpin Moody’s Investors Service Blasts Amazon’s Influence on Seattle

May 31, 2018 | Matthew Caruchet

Karl Marx-inspired credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service issued a report this month saying that Amazon’s bullying tactics over Seattle’s newly-passed employee hours tax show it has too much influence over our city.

The tax would require businesses with more than $20 million in annual revenue to pay about $275 per full-time employee, per year.

Amazon, which boasted $1.9 billion in profits in the last three months of 2017, balked at having to pay $20 million per year to deal with the homelessness crisis caused in part by the displacement of low-income Seattle residents from the influx of highly paid workers coming to the city.

Amazon has been able to “materially influence the outcome of the [head tax] debate by withholding or threatening to withhold employment or other economic expansion,” Moody’s said, warning about the behemoth’s penchant for exercising “outsized influence in some local government policy decisions.”

We also saw this statewide with Amazon’s opposition to updating Washington’s equal pay for women law, even though Microsoft and other tech companies worked to improve the bill.

Moody’s analysts called the employee hours tax on large Seattle employers “a credit positive for the city,” adding that it won’t affect job growth.

(In all seriousness, Moody’s is a stalwart capitalist institution. In fact, researchers at Boston College found in 2017 that Moody’s desires to “cater to its corporate clients,” as did researchers at Penn State and the University of Georgia in 2017 and Emory University in 2014. If anything, Moody’s is harder on local governments than it is on corporations.)

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Posted in An Inclusive Economy, Ending Corporate Tax Breaks, Funding Public Services


  1. doug conrad says:

    This analysis ignores the reality that taxes on employee hours are primarily shifted to workers in the form of reduced hours and reduced compensation. Consumers will bear some of the tax in increased prices for the company’s products, as will shareholders in the form of decreased capital gains and dividends,but most will be felt by the workers.

    Stick to your guns on state constitutional reform to permit a progressive (or at least proportional) state income tax, and find state and county progressive revenue sources. The head tax doesn’t meet that standard. Moreover, we all need to participate in the homelessness and housing affordability solution…

    • Economic Opportunity Institute says:

      Thank you for your comment. This wasn’t meant to be a critique of whether the head tax was a good tax or not. It’s just meant to be a critique of Amazon’s dangerous amount of influence over city politics, that even conservative investment companies are now noticing.

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