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Breakfast Briefing: Seattle’s New Tax & Soros Shuns Hungary

 4 min read / 

Seattle Passes Homeless Tax

Seattle aims to raise an extra $50m by slapping big businesses with an extra tax.

Editor’s Remarks: Seattle’s city council voted to pass a new tax on the area’s largest employers, despite stiff opposition from the likes of Amazon. The tax will be imposed on companies that have an annual turnover of at least $20m, and will amount to about $275 in additional tax per employee. Last year, Seattle spent over $68m in order to help its roughly 10,000 homeless citizens. Consequently, Amazon and other big businesses have said there is no guarantee that the fresh funds will have any impact, while the new tax amounts to a penalty on successful companies.

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Google Rebrands Its Storage Plans

Google’s consumer cloud storage plans will now be known as Google One.

Editor’s Remarks: Google One features a new $2.99/month pricing option for 200GB of storage and sees the price the 2TB plan slashed from $19.99/month to $9.99/month. In addition, these memberships will come with the ability to share storage space with as many as five family members. All Google One customers also get free one-tap live access to Google Experts if they ever need help with any Google products or services, regardless of which plan they are on. Google also said that it plans to offer Google One users exclusive discounts to hotels and other services that advertise with its search engine.

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Kleiner Perkins Loses Another Partner

Beth Seidenberg is leaving the famous VC firm to go it alone.

Editor’s Remarks: Seidenberg has been with Kleiner Perkins for the past 13 years and joined with the intention of building out the firm’s life sciences division. However, she is calling it quits and has decided to set up her own firm in LA, which is rapidly rivalling Silicon Valley for top talent. Kleiner Perkins confirmed that Seidenberg, who is one of roughly 10 partners to have left the firm in the last six years, will remain a partner in its existing funds. The new trend of venture capitalists founding their own firms underscores the sheer amount of capital that is flowing into the sector in search of the next unicorn.

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The Soros Foundation Shuns Hungary

George Soros’ charitable foundation is relocating its Budapest office to Berlin.

Editor’s Remarks: Soros, the Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist, has been at loggerheads with Hungary’s Fidesz government over claims that he is funding mass Muslim migration to the EU. Although Soros’ Open Society foundation has dismissed these accusations as mere fiction, they have opted to relocate their Hungarian operations to Berlin amid an increasingly hostile environment. Upon his re-election last month, Prime Minister Victor Orban announced that he will be pushing a “Stop Soros” package that will further restrict the activities of NGOs. Ironically, Orban himself was the recipient of a Soros scholarship, which funded his education at Oxford University.

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Rees-Mogg Slams Customs Plan

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg refuses to consider remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Editor’s Remarks: Rees-Mogg met Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday and assured her that the 60 or so Tory Brexiteers that he leads in the European Research Group will not back down over the customs partnership. He argued that abiding by EU rules without having a say in how they were made would completely undo the purpose of the Brexit vote. Further, he reiterated his previous comments that the Irish border issue could be resolved reasonably straightforwardly. Elsewhere, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stated that his party does not view staying in the EEA as a viable solution either.

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