Frequently Asked Questions

Why should we build a movement to tax Amazon and other big businesses in Burbank?

Burbank, like many cities across the country, faces an ongoing affordable housing crisis and an epidemic where access to a safe home with the ability to shelter in place is crucial for community health. With workplaces shutting down, people are already wondering how they’re going to afford the rents—which were already sky high even before the pandemic.

Like most cities in California, Burbank has suffered from a chronic lack of affordable housing. The majority of people who work in our city can’t afford to live here; we have a jobs-to-housing ratio of 3 to 1, meaning 80,000 people have to commute into the city everyday! Now with the coronavirus and unprecedented economic crisis, the situation is only getting worse.

Burbank needs over 8,700 new units of affordable housing to address the housing crisis, according to the California Regional Housing Needs Assessment Goal. But the housing crisis is nothing new. The private, for-profit market has failed, and will continue to fail, to meet human needs because corporate developers and large property management corporations—who are driven by their own profits—are exploiting their tenants. That's why rents are still going up, even during the pandemic!

We need a major expansion of social housing: publicly-owned, permanently-affordable, energy-efficient homes. These needs have to be funded by taxing the largest corporations, not working people or small businesses.

This kind of expansion of housing will also serve as a major jobs program, creating thousands of living wage, union jobs, which are more needed than ever in the context of this economic recession.

While working people are wondering how they’ll pay rent, Jeff Bezos and a handful of corporate elites have been raking in record profits during the course of the pandemic. We think Amazon and wealthy businesses should pay their fair share to address Burbank's affordable housing crisis.

Won’t a tax on business end up costing workers their jobs?

This is a common falsehood spread by big business and the corporate media. This is NOT A TAX ON JOBS, WORKERS, OR SMALL BUSINESS. We are fighting for a tax only on big corporations, meaning on the multi-millionaires and billionaires. In fact, our Amazon Tax will be a major jobs program, creating thousands of desperately needed living wage union jobs in Burbank!

During the coronavirus crisis, Congress has allocated trillions to bail out Wall Street and big business while giving working people crumbs.

You say the tax is going to fund social housing? What is social housing?

Social housing is housing that is outside of the private, profit-driven market that has failed us.

Social housing is high quality, publicly owned and controlled, permanently affordable housing available to working-class individuals and families. Social housing can mean city-owned rental apartments and homes; city-owned homes maintained and operated using union labor, either by the City of Burbank or a non-profit organization; or through co-op housing or community land trust housing.

What is our strategy to win a movement to tax Amazon and Big Business in Burbank?

In 2020, Socialist Alternative, DSA, unions and other progressive organizations came together and built a movement which successfully passed a tax on Amazon and other big businesses. The campaign built a democratically organized movement and brought together hundreds of community members to rally, march, and participate in a series of grassroots action conferences to discuss and vote on key aspects of strategy for the movement, including what type of tax to fight for, the outlines of the eventual ballot initiative, and what it would fund.

Due to the strength and persistence of their organizing efforts, working people in Seattle were able to win a tax on big business, redistributing 240 million dollars per year to fund COVID-19 relief, social housing, and Green New Deal programs!

We’re going to take the lessons learned in Seattle to Burbank.