Seattle passes scaled-back tax big companies

An Amazon logo is seen inside the Amazon corporate headquarters

The Seattle city council voted unanimously Monday to tax the city's largest employers $275 per employee in order to provide housing and healthcare for a growing homeless population.

The tax only affects companies with more than $20 million in revenue in the city.

Seattle leaders were not daunted by Amazon's strong position.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Starbucks Vice President Drew Herdener attacked the city for failing to practice fiscal restraint, and instead punishing businesses for what is ultimately the city's failure. It replaces what had been a proposed $500-per-head tax. Sponsors of the tax said Seattle's biggest-earning businesses should bear some burden for easing a shortage in low-priced housing that they helped create by driving up real estate prices to the point where the working poor and many middle-class families can no longer afford to live in the city.

"The battle lines on this issue were more starkly drawn than they have been on numerous other progressive issues that the Seattle city council has pushed in recent years", Nelson told TheDCNF, adding the head tax drew opposition from many divergent interests in the city.

Sawant joined activist in rallying support for the policy, including using city resources to print fliers emblazoned with "Tax Amazon" to bill the head tax on corporations. So, if we round that to 12,000, Seattle has spent over $20K per person with no improvement.

"We are disappointed by today's city council decision to introduce a tax on jobs". Denver has enacted a similar tax, and Chicago had one but repealed it. Seattle itself had a head tax in effect from 2006 to 2009 but it was repealed to help businesses in the midst of the recession.

"I am quite confident that as we move forward, we can continue to have the best city anywhere for people to do business", Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference.



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