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Date: January 18, 2019
Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org

Unlike Amazon, Some Companies Recognize The Importance of Helping Local Communities Build Affordable Housing

Shot: Microsoft announced one of “the most ambitious efforts by a tech company” to help fund vital affordable housing development in its Seattle communities…

“Microsoft’s money represents the most ambitious effort by a tech company to directly address the inequality that has spread in areas where the industry is concentrated, particularly on the West Coast. It will fund construction for homes affordable not only to the company’s own non-tech workers, but also for teachers, firefighters and other middle- and low-income residents.” (The New York Times, “Microsoft Pledges $500 Million for Affordable Housing in Seattle Area” Karen Weise, 1.16.19)

Chaser: …unlike Amazon, which last summer bankrolled efforts to overturn a Seattle City Council ordinance to raise funds to combat homelessness and threatened to hold new development plans hostage until bill was killed.

“Council members say they changed their minds in the face of a well-funded and vicious campaign that sought to put a referendum on the November ballot to repeal the head tax, a campaign that they say also sought to flush progressives from office in Seattle. They say big companies like Amazon have held the city hostage by refusing to engage in a discussion about new revenue streams to fund affordable housing, and that though they might have quashed this effort, they have put forward no solutions for the city’s problems.” (The Atlantic, “How Amazon Helped Kill a Seattle Tax on Business,” Alana Samuels, 6.13.18)

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The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org