City council passes scaled-down head tax

City council passes scaled-down head tax

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a smaller version of the controversial "head tax" on Amazon and other top-grossing businesses that has sent shockwaves through the tech industry and municipal government over the past few weeks.

But the measure has sparked intense debate - even shouting matches in otherwise reserved Seattle - over who should pay to solve the housing crisis exacerbated by that growth.

As the Seattle City Council prepares to vote on the city's proposed head tax, other area leaders are distancing themselves from the idea.

Amazon has the backing of the Seattle Times editorial board, which has called the proposed tax a "symbolic "eat the rich" gesture", that it contends would harm workers.

According to its website, Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy and claims to be the largest private employer in the city.

"There is no way this tax will be a burden on big businesses in Seattle", Sawant told The Seattle Times.

They instead convened a task force to study the city's homelessness needs and to recommend new progressive revenue sources.

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They were also trying to win two in a row at their home rink for the first time since the opening round. This is the conference finals. "They put on a clinic in drafting and developing", McCrimmon said.

In response to the plan, internet giant Amazon threatened to stop work on a 17-story tower it was building near its South Lake Union district corporate headquarters.

In a speech opposing the amendment to shrink the tax, Sawant said that the council passed a head tax at all is a victory for "the movement", a line echoed by Socialist Alternative members who spoke out during a public comment session. Construction workers chanted "no head tax" and disrupted a news conference she held last week on Amazon's campus.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant said Amazon was attempting to "blackmail" the city.

The move by Amazon to create HQ2 - a second headquarters elsewhere - has stoked fears that Seattle's liberal politics will turn off the company. Some see it as a warning to those contenders. Constantine also said, "I am very concerned the decision being put before us right now is going to harm our attempts to keep jobs and recruit jobs to our region".

But the city says homelessness is a moving target. King County, which includes Seattle, recorded a record 169 homeless deaths past year.

As County Executive, I would not support a head tax in Snohomish County and none is being considered or discussed to my knowledge.
Most recently, they approved a $290 million levy in 2016.

"The City of Seattle has an obligation to take care of those people who are suffering on our city's streets", Gonzalez said prior to Monday's vote. Union construction workers marched on city call to protest the tax, which also drew opposition from business interests. He said his margins are slim, and he can't pass costs on to grocery stores and other customers. How much are people willing to pay for local bread? Now, in five years, the fight in Seattle will begin again. Durkan's office had asked about state funding for the city's homelessness crisis. "But come up with a viable option", said Jennifer Schuyler, opponent of the tax. "Show us a plan". "I don't feel like we're doing this in a vacuum", Herbold said Friday. "They make business hurt and we make them welcome".

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