Sawant: “Today’s Amazon profit report shows the City Council has a clear budget choice: Make sure Amazon and other large corporations pay for this crisis, or make working people suffer more”
SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee, today cited Amazon’s record quarterly profits of $6.3 billion as clear evidence of why City Council must reject Mayor Durkan’s cruel austerity budget and instead increase the Amazon tax to fund essential needs of working people, including affordable housing, shelters, food programs, the Green New Deal, tenant protections, and vital services, especially in marginalized communities.
Amazon today reported record profits of $6.3 billion on revenues of $96.1 billion for the third quarter of the year, the three months ending Sept. 30. Amazon’s new quarterly profit record is a billion dollars higher than the previous quarter (which itself was a new record), and represents a 200% increase over last year’s profits. Since the pandemic struck earlier this year, Amazon’s owners have made record profits of $11.5 billion.
“Today’s news about Amazon and other corporate profits is nothing less than stunning,” Councilmember Sawant said. “While Seattle’s working people are struggling to pay rents, mortgages, and put food on the table during the double whammy of the pandemic and the deepest recession since the Great Depression, Amazon and other major Seattle corporations are gloating to Wall Street about record profits, and billionaires are seeing their net worths soar to stratospheric levels.”
“Our People’s Budget movement has consistently said, it’s a choice between making big business pay, or making working people suffer. Now, with these staggering corporate profit reports, it’s clear what the City Council must do: Raise the Amazon Tax rate. If Councilmembers don’t, they will be forcing working people to suffer. If you are not for raising taxes on big business to fund social needs, then by definition you are for austerity.”
In addition to Amazon, yesterday Microsoft “shattered Wall Street expectations” by reporting $13.9 billion in quarterly profits, a 30% increase. It’s not just shareholders at high tech companies who are making big money. Starbucks today reported quarterly profits of nearly $400 million, exceeding the expectations of financial analysts.
American billionaires like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have seen their profits soar during the pandemic. A new report published last week noted that American billionaires’ net worth has increased by $931 billion since the start of the pandemic, a wealth increase of nearly a third in just seven months. Bezos’ net worth has soared from $113 billion at the start of the pandemic in March, to $187 billion today.
“Can anyone say with a straight face that protecting these billionaires and big business shareholders is more important than housing working people, providing shelters to the homeless, feeding them, getting them medical care, keeping our libraries and community centers going, and fixing our roads? Is Jeff Bezos’ net worth of $187 billion more important than funding the needs of Black and Brown communities? If, after these absolutely stunning corporate profit reports, the political establishment fails to join with the People’s Budget in increasing the tax on big businesses, then they will only be showing working people that they don’t care about us, that their ‘Black Lives Matter’ declarations are unmet by action,” Sawant said.
She continued: “My Council office has put forward the People’s Budget amendment to increase the Amazon tax from the baseline 0.7% rate to 1.46%. This is a minuscule increase for profiteering big businesses, but it will raise $233 million next year and allow the City to keep its parks, libraries, and community centers open, to do necessary road maintenance, and to build more affordable housing. It will block the Mayor’s proposal to impose austerity, which will fall disproportionately on Black and Brown working and poor communities. I call on other City Councilmembers to join me and the People’s Budget movement in supporting and voting for an increase in the Amazon tax.”