Cancelling my Seattle Chamber of Commerce Membership

I generally avoid overtly political postings on this blog. Usually this space is for updates on my business, best practices for nonprofit websites, and other related material. That will continue to be the focus, but I am making one exception as it involves my business’s former membership in the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

On Saturday, May 14, 2018, I sent the following email to various Chamber-associated emails including that of CEO Marilyn Strickland.

Dear Ms. Strickland and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Board,

Today I request that you cancel my Chamber membership due to your blanket opposition to the city council’s proposed head tax.

The Chamber’s position has received prominent media coverage, yet I have only heard opposition to taxing businesses in any way. What I have not heard is glaring: I have not heard any meaningful proposals for alternative approaches to combating homelessness and funding affordable housing. Nationally, Washington State and Seattle ask the least of our wealthy residents to support their communities due to a regressive tax system. I have heard no suggestions from you for better ways to fairly raise funds from those who can afford it.

The record levels of tax revenue you regularly cite are a product of a strong economy, of which the benefits are disproportionately going to business and property owners. I cannot help but conclude that you are simply protecting the profits of Seattle’s largest businesses.

Your own report just completed by McKinsey & Company makes the need for increased funding to combat homelessness obvious. The current tax proposal is drastically insufficient in light of the report’s conclusions, yet, event still, you oppose it. I find your arguments against it short-sighted at best and disingenuous at worst.

I recognize that your position represents the personal interests of the Chamber’s largest members. You should represent your members, and you have not represented me.

Your positions have put you at risk of failing to achieve your stated vision to “seek an economically vibrant and globally competitive Seattle region where businesses can flourish and everyone has the opportunity to succeed and to access a thriving quality of life.” I hope you will reconsider your current opposition to the head tax in light of your mission and sincerely participate in planning a progressive means of funding city services that support all citizens of Seattle.

Mark Root-Wiley
Owner, MRW Web Design
Seattle, WA

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