In the latest drama between Amazon.com and the city of Seattle, Amazon confirmed Wednesday that it will be moving thousands of its employees out of Seattle and across the lake to near by Bellevue, WA. Revealed first by Geekwire and confirmed by Amazon, the company plans to move their worldwide operations team to Bellevue starting this month, and have several thousand moved by 2023.
Amazon has had a contentious relationship with Seattle for some time now. Last year, socialist city councilmember, Kshama Sawant, targeted Amazon with a bill which proposed a $500 per employee “head tax” which large employers in the city would have to pay. The amount was reduced down to $275 per person and ultimately defeated when other councilmembers looked down the road a little to consider the possible economic ramifications of chasing all so much economic activity (and potential taxes) out of Seattle.
It was during this time, while the bill was being debated, that Amazon brought to a halt to further expansion in Seattle. Not to be daunted, Councilmember Sawant angrily called Amazon a “bully” and accused them of holding jobs “hostage.” It was after this confrontation that Amazon, in a similar move to Boeing relocating its headquarters out of the state, announced it was looking elsewhere to build a second headquarters.
In sharp contrast to Seattle city council’s outright hostility to the company, Bellevue city mayor John Chelminiak said, “We’re excited by today’s announcement that Amazon plans to expand its presence in Bellevue.” In a statement, Amazon noted Bellevue’s “business-friendly environment.”
When Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was asked for her reaction, she attempted to spin the news as well as a politician could when she claimed, “I think that it is a good thing for Seattle, a good thing for Bellevue.” Yes. A city chasing jobs away is always a good thing, right?
At the moment I think everyone’s wondering how long before
Amazon moves out of Seattle entirely. It’s good they realize they don’t need to
stay in an abusive relationship.