Mayor Murray statement on Amazon announcement

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement regarding the announcement from Amazon:

 “Today is an exciting day for Amazon, one of Seattle’s original technology companies and one that has helped reshape our city over the last two decades. Seattle has grown in recent years, as one of the world’s most creative and innovative companies has firmly rooted itself in our city, and not just with the multiple office buildings Amazon has built in our downtown core. Amazon’s work in our community, willingness to invest in the core of our city, and recruitment and development of thousands of talented people have helped Seattle become an international technology and business hub.

 “My office will immediately begin conversations with Amazon around their needs with today’s announcement and the company’s long-term plans for Seattle. And we will coordinate with Governor Inslee to convene key business and community leaders to plan for our future growth and response to this announcement. I look forward to working with Amazon to secure their long-term, successful future in the heart of Seattle.

 “Though they won’t find one quite like it, it is telling that Amazon is looking for a city in the model of Seattle for its second home, similar to what major tech companies like Google and Facebook have done in building campuses here.

 “Seattleites should know Seattle is strong because we have a large, diverse economy. From technology to health care and biotech to forestry, major companies like Expedia and Weyerhaeuser call Seattle home—as do more than 700,000 people that make our city a vibrant, exciting place to live. We have worked with these companies—and those who work here—to make Seattle a great place to do businesses because it is a great place to work, and a great place to work because it is a great place to live. All of these companies, as well as our art, music, sports, recreation and leading progressive values have and will continue to make Seattle one of the world’s most desirable places to live and do business.

 “But, we also must know headwinds are coming. Unprecedented growth will not happen forever and my upcoming budget will reflect that. And current federal immigration policy makes it difficult for companies like Amazon to do business in the U.S., where they have employees who may not know from day to day whether they will be allowed to stay here. That is why we must fight these policies and remain a Welcoming City. Our values are why businesses continue to come here in record numbers.

 “I look forward to our city’s long partnership with Amazon, both for the thousands of people who work there and the company’s work in our community, such as Mary’s Place. Seattle will be home to Amazon and the many other companies that dot our city’s iconic skyline for years to come.”

 

 

 

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U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Mayor Murray, Port of Seattle and SODO business leaders celebrate funding milestone for Lander Street bridge

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Mayor Ed Murray, Port Commissioner John Creighton and SODO business leaders announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that directs up to $10 million from the Port of Seattle towards completing the South Lander Street bridge project and $5 million towards solutions for a broader approach to ease traffic and improve safety on major freight and transit corridors throughout Seattle. The South Lander Street bridge is a critical project serving one of the busiest and most high-risk rail crossings in the country. The project is estimated to cost $123 million, funded through commitments from federal, state, and local partners. Last fall, the project was awarded a $45 million federal grant thanks to the advocacy of Senator Cantwell.

“Washington state loses millions of dollars in economic activity because of train, truck, and urban traffic congestion –at Lander Street alone. By moving freight faster, we can fuel our export economy and create good paying jobs,” said Senator Cantwell. “I’m proud to have helped secure the $45 million from the FASTLANE grant program which I championed in the FAST Act in 2015. I will continue fighting to fix our infrastructure to build strong economic growth and make our country more economically competitive.”

 “The City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the state of Washington, and federal leaders like United States Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell all came together around this vital infrastructure project because we are all committed to building a thriving, 21st Century economy that channels our booming $38 billon maritime industry,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “I’ve worked on this project dating back to my time in the state legislature, to support our industrial and maritime economy. Our shared economic values of mobility, safety, living wage jobs, and a clean environment all aligned around this bridge to the future.”

 “The Safe and Swift Corridor Program will create efficiency for freight, and continue the safe movement of cargo through our gateway,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton.  “This partnership will improve transportation for commuters, truckers, buses and bicyclists in these critical corridors.”

South Lander Street is an essential east-west corridor serving Port of Seattle freight, King County Metro buses, bicyclists, commuters and pedestrians. The corridor is closed for more than 4.5 hours daily due to rail traffic, impacting approximately 13,000 vehicles.

 The corridor is considered one of the most high-risk rail crossings in the state.  Since 2011, three fatalities have occurred between trains and pedestrians at the South Lander Street crossing and an average of 485 track violations occur daily as cars, pedestrians and bicycles cross the tracks when the safety gates are deployed.  The new four-lane bridge will provide safe connections for 1,400 pedestrians daily, primarily traversing between the SODO light rail station and area employers. This project will remove all at-grade access to the tracks at that location, improving safety for all.

The project is scheduled to break ground in early 2018.  For the latest updates on the South Lander Street project, click here.

 

 

 

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Mayor Murray proposes end to subminimum wage for people with disabilities

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park) announced the City of Seattle will change the Minimum Wage ordinance to prevent employers from paying any worker with a disability less than Seattle’s minimum wage. The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) will begin rule revisions to the ordinance this month, to propose elimination of special certificates permitting subminimum wages for certain employees with disabilities, which are currently allowed under the law.

“The point of our historic $15 minimum wage law was to build universal equity in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “A loophole allowing subminimum wages for disabled workers has undermined that goal. We are correcting that error to make good on our promise and our values.”

“Subminimum wages are an outdated practice that inherently devalue the employee receiving them,” said Councilmember Herbold. “With so few subminimum wage certificates issued to employers, now is the perfect time to end this practice and lead the region in ending this discriminatory policy.”

The ordinance as currently enacted mirrors Washington state law, permitting employers to pay less than minimum wage. The Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities voted unanimously at its June meeting to end this exemption. OLS Director Dylan Orr, who served for more than five years at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), including two years as chief of staff for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), supports the rule revisions.

“I commend the continued commitment on behalf of the Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities, the Mayor’s Office, and City Council to act quickly,” said Orr. “We must remind ourselves that when one person or group is marginalized or discriminated against, we all are.”

The proposed subminimum wage revisions are part of a larger effort to update Chapter 90 Rules to reflect legislation passed during the 2017 budget process establishing OLS as an independent office; changes resulting from the Wage Theft Prevention and Harmonization Ordinance of 2015; revisions to Washington State’s minimum wage law resulting from Initiative 1433; and to address service charges and employer payments toward individual employee’s medical benefits plans; and other requests for clarification from the public. OLS issued these revisions for notice and comment in late February 2017. OLS will issue further draft revisions to Chapter 90 Rules for notice and comment in August 2017. The Council will receive and vote on omnibus legislation, including the subminimum wage revisions, from OLS before the end of the year.

 

 

 

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Mayor Murray statement on Council passage of Seattle high-earner income tax

Today, Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement after City Council unanimously voted to create a city income tax on high-income earners, shifting Seattle to a more progressive and sustainable tax structure. The legislation will apply a 2.25 percent tax rate on annual income over $250,000 for individuals, or $500,000 for married couples filing jointly. The tax will not affect any income earned below these thresholds.

“Seattle is challenging this state’s antiquated and unsustainable tax structure by passing a progressive income tax,” said Mayor Murray. “Our goal is to replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness, while ensuring Seattle stands up to President Trump’s austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, healthcare, and social services. This is a fight for economic stability, equity, and justice.”

An estimated $140 million in new annual revenue generated by the income tax would allow the City to lower the burden associated with property taxes and other regressive taxes, replace federal funding potentially lost through President Trump’s budget cuts, and enhance public services such as housing, education, transit, and/or create green jobs while meeting the City’s carbon reduction goals.

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Employers step up with opportunities for Seattle’s youth

Today, Mayor Ed Murray celebrates the start day of the Summer 2017 Internship season by thanking new corporate partners and City departments that are supporting the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative (MYEI). Support for the initiative ranges from hosting interns to contributing funds to support wages for youth placed at other organizations. To date, more than $500,000 has been raised to support interns’ wages, transportation, and other support, in addition to employers who host and pay the interns directly.

Meet some of this summer’s interns:

This year’s partners include: Anchor QEA, Artefact Group, AT&T, C+C, Comcast, Downtown Seattle Association, Evergreens, Foster Pepper PLLC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Swedish, Harborview Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, King County International Airport/Boeing Field, Launch, Novo Nordisk, Pacifica Law Group, Point B Inc., Port of Seattle, Tom Douglas Restaurants, Uber and Waldron.

“As we work to ensure that all Seattle youth are prepared to thrive in tomorrow’s economy, one of the most important experiences a young person can have is on-the-job training and connections to a professional network,” said Mayor Murray. “In a city with so much economic growth and opportunity, we can’t leave Seattle’s young people behind, particularly youth of color. By providing opportunities to Seattle’s youth, employers are changing lives. I want to thank those who have stepped forward and challenge more companies and organizations to get involved.”

Building on decades of success of the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP), in 2015 Mayor Murray launched the MYEI, which connects Seattle youth ages 14-24 with paid internships and employment opportunities. Seattle youth ages 16-19 have an unemployment rate around 21 percent, while unemployment for youth ages 20-24 hovers around 10 percent, far above the overall city rate of 2.9 percent. As a result, Seattle youth are missing out on vital work experience and income, which hurts lifetime earnings.

“JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping communities make a long-term investment in increasing the number of available summer jobs and turning those jobs into employment opportunities down the road,” said Phyllis Campbell, Chairman, JPMorgan Chase, Pacific Northwest. “We feel our support of the Summer Youth Employment Program is an important way we are helping to build the long-term success of the local economy. Young people are facing an employment crisis—too many cannot find summer jobs and, as a result, they’re missing out on a critical opportunity to be personally and professionally successful in the future.”

“We are excited to participate in the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative this summer,” said Point B Inc. Managing Director for People Jill Going. “For Point B, we embrace any opportunity to meet the future talent pool of Seattle, expose them to a career in consulting, and inspire them to be their best. We also recognize the strategic nature of this initiative as one way to help solve the growing workforce needs in our booming economy. By building a pipeline between the emerging workforce and local businesses, we are planting seeds for future employment. By providing an opportunity to work, students get inspired, build goals and hopefully channel their education into skills that our city needs.”

The need for summer employment opportunities continues to grow. In 2015, the initiative connected more than 2,000 youth with life-changing internship opportunities. The City enlisted Educurious in 2016 to include the private sector in the solution and saw a 74 percent increase in the number of positions filled, totaling 3,484. This year, as the initiative continues to grow, we are strengthening our partnerships with the community, including Seattle Public Schools, Juma Ventures, YouthCare, and YouthForce.

Earlier this year, Mayor Murray announced a new directive extending participation in MYEI to all City departments.

To learn more and register your organization to participate in the initiative, visit murray.seattle.gov/youthjobs.

 

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