Seattle City Council repeals 'head tax'


Seattle City Council repeals 'head tax'

Amazon and Starbucks reportedly supported the anti-tax campaign.

Amazon, the city's largest employer, paused construction planning on a project in downtown Seattle and threatened to sublease space in a newly leased building pending the council's decision on the tax.

Critics of the tax argued that it would force businesses to raise prices, while others were concerned about the lack of specific details on how the council planned to use the revenue, noting that the city already wastes money on failing programs for the homeless.

Many anxious that Amazon and others would leave the city as the companies sharply criticized the tax. He said Google hadn't taken a situation on the proposition and that no "groundswell" of resistance has appeared from the Internet seek goliath and different organizations.

"From day one, the Seattle Metro Chamber has been clear that a tax on jobs is not the way to address the regional homelessness crisis", President and CEO Marilyn Strickland said in a statement Monday.

Several council members, including three who sponsored the legislation but voted to repeal it, lamented the reversal and conceded they didn't have the resources or time to fight the referendum.

"That doesn't mean they bolster it", Siegel said. Thousands of Seattle Public Schools students were homeless past year, and a record 169 people died on the streets of King County in 2017.

Meanwhile, Seattle's homeless population increased 44 percent in the past two years, and the town and surrounding county have the nation's third-largest concentration of people sleeping on the streets, according to a count done in 2017.

Councilwoman Lisa Herbold said it "was truly our best option" and that she repealed it with a heavy heart. As the council members voted, they were drowned out by activists who chanted, "Housing is a human right". But she and others said business interests had convinced many voters otherwise. "It is a cowardly betrayal of our movement", said the socialist.

The tax, often referred to as the "Amazon Tax" because the online retailer is the largest company in Seattle and would have paid the most, cost an extra $275 per employee each year.

Though Seattle faces a severe affordable housing shortage, with home price growth more than double that of almost every other American city, about half of the city's residents still earn less than $50,000 annually, according to IRS filings. The company pressured city leaders to scale back the council's initial $500-per-head tax proposal, only to turn around and immediately pledge $25,000 to the referendum campaign. It recently said it would block Australians from purchases on its worldwide websites after the nation planned to impose a 10 percent consumption tax on online retailers for goods shipped to Australia.