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The city of Tacoma, Wash., has long envied the big concentration of tech companies to the north, and Seattle’s head tax is providing a new opening for Tacoma and Pierce County economic development officials to make their case.

Tacoma released the video above this past week following the Seattle City Council’s unanimous vote to enact a tax of $275 per employee per year on companies with more than $20 million in annual revenue in the city to fund programs to address homelessness, a compromise from the original $500 per employee plan.

Amazon and many other large companies spoke out against the tax, and a Seattle business coalition launched a campaign to repeal it.

In a simple and straightforward 30-second video, with dramatic music and waterfront vistas, Tacoma delivers its message in all caps: “NO HEAD TAX HERE … YOU’LL LIKE TACOMA … YOU’LL LIKE THE SOUTH SOUND … WE WELCOME JOBS … LOWER COST OF LIVING, HIGHER QUALITY OF LIFE … THE SOUTH SOUND IS THE PLACE FOR JOBS … WE’RE HERE FOR YOU.”

Tacoma is certainly being more aggressive than Bellevue, Wash., Seattle’s neighbor to the east. Its mayor, John Chelminiak, touted the city’s mantra, “Bellevue is open for business,” but also expressed concern in an interview with GeekWire over the message the tax sends about the broader Seattle metropolitan region.

Listen to our Week in Geek podcast below for more on the head tax and what comes next for Amazon and the region.

GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg also discussed the topic on KUOW’s Week in Review with host Bill Radke, Seattle Times opinion writer Melissa Santos and former Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna. Listen to that discussion here.


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