Seattle employee “head” tax vs. Amazon

Every major city has a homeless population, but homelessness in Seattle has grown to third highest in the nation. Seattle Times Seattle City Council has been come under scrutiny because its efforts have not improved the situation. Last year, King County, the City of Seattle, and Federal funding sources spent a combined $195,588,000 on homeless programs.

Many are blaming the increasing cost of living on wealthy businesses. Proposals to levy new taxes have come forth, including a payroll- or head tax on companies with yearly revenues more than $20 million. Just last month, City Council unanimously voted for a $275 yearly “head” tax per employee. However, the measure was unpopular among business but especially unwelcome by Amazon, the city’s largest employer, who happened to be in mid-construction of a downtown tower. When the tax passed, Amazon announced that it was halting construction on the tower and opening it up to commercial lease. This development had major implications on the future of Amazon’s relationship with Seattle. Would it not be hiring new employees? Would it be relocating its headquarters and thousands of jobs with it? New polls were taken, and they did not shine favorably on City Council. Less than a month after passed, City Council repealed its head tax. It is rumored that Amazon killed Seattle’s head tax and helped to fund efforts for people to publicly air out frustrations with City Council. The Atlantic

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