Giving Public Testimony on Tax Amazon

We will need a fighting grassroots movement to win the Amazon Tax, and to ensure that big business and the wealthy pay for the Coronavirus crisis, not ordinary people.

Part of building our movement is public testimony (also called public comment) at the City Council meetings. You can sign up to give public testimony at all City Council meetings. Two hours before the meeting begins (that is, beginning at 8 am for a 10 am committee meeting), go to this Council page, scroll to the bottom, and click on the sign up form. You’ll get an email with instructions on giving your public testimony.

  • Expect to be limited to 1 minute of speaking, and for the microphone to be cut off at exactly one minute. So with introduction time. you should plan for ~50 seconds of presenting . It’s better to be brief and to the point than to run out of time.
  • Be yourself! Speak at a normal pace - don’t rush your words
  • Tell your story and connect it to why you are part of a movement to hold elected officials accountable to the needs of the community.
  • Organize your testimony in three parts:

1. Introduce yourself

  • Your name
  • Where you live (neighborhood; council district if you know it)
  • Name the Councilmember of your City Council District, and say, you hope they do the right thing:
    • District 1 - Lisa Herbold
    • District 2 - Tammy Morales
    • District 3 - Kshama Sawant
    • District 4 - Alex Pedersen
    • District 5 - Debora Juarez
    • District 6 - Dan Strauss
    • District 7 - Andrew Lewis
    • Position 8 - Teresa Mosqueda (at-large)
    • Position 9 - Lorena González (at-large)
  • Where you work (or if you’ve lost work or been laid off in the pandemic, where you worked)
  • Note if you’re a member of a union or community organization

2. Explain why City Council must pass our Amazon Tax

Consider using points like:

  • Our community is facing a triple emergency: the COVID public health emergency, the ongoing housing emergency, and now a jobs and income emergency.
  • There is no economic recovery without big business being taxed, especially in Seattle, the city with the nation’s most regressive tax system.
  • It is not ok for politicians to say progressive things - it has to be shown through real leadership in action.
  • Big business can afford to pay a very modest tax to fund urgently needed assistance, and long-term funding for affordable, social housing and the Green New Deal.
  • When tens of thousands of Seattle workers are out of jobs, when frontline workers are risking and sacrificing their lives for all of us, big business is refusing to step up and pay less than one percent of their budgets. That is beyond shameful!
  • The Amazon tax covers the top 2% of businesses and exempts the other 98 percent.
  • The Sawant-Morales legislation is a lifeline to people, providing immediate cash assistance to up to 100,000 vulnerable households
  • It would also fund a massive expansion of affordable, publicly-controlled social housing – 10,000 new rent-controlled homes in the next 10 years.
  • It also will upgrade tens of thousands of existing homes to meet Green New Deal Standards.
  • In doing all of this, the Tax Amazon legislation would create and support potentially thousands of good union jobs

3. Explain why you personally support Tax Amazon for COVID relief, social housing, and the Green New Deal

  • In your own words, why do we need to tax big business to fund COVID relief, social housing, Green New Deal?
  • What has happened to you and your family as a result of the housing crisis? COVID crisis?
  • Share a brief story or personal experience
  • Explain why councilmembers must stand with working people, not the interests of big business

Here’s a handy infographic that explains all of the basics about the Amazon Tax to fund COVID relief, social housing, and the Green New Deal:

Amazon Tax Infographic - front
Amazon Tax Infographic - back