Seattle City Council repeals controversial head tax

Bezos at lunch

"This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis".

Sponsors of the tax said Seattle's biggest-earning businesses should bear some burden for easing a shortage of low-priced housing that those companies helped create by driving up real estate prices to the point where the working poor and many middle-class families could no longer afford to live in the city.

The No Tax on Jobs campaign, led by Saul Spady (the grandson of Dick's Drive-In co-founder Dick Spady), Pushpay's James Maiocco, and accountant Philip Llloyd, had raised $350,000 in pledges to overturn the head tax, according to recent campaign disclosures.

In response to public pressure and signature gathering from No Tax on Jobs, a business-backed referendum campaign, the City Council held a special meeting to repeal the so-called head tax, or employee hours tax.

Amazon and other businesses had sharply criticized the tax, and the online retailer even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest. "You have been heard".

Seattle City Council is considering repealing the controversial per-employee business tax.

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce declined to participate. The measure's supporters said large employers should pay the head tax because their presence in the city contributed to the rising cost of living.

And many have offered the internet giant billions in incentives to choose their city for the HQ2 project that would bring about 50,000 jobs to the winning region.

The first proposal would have taxed big businesses $500 per employee annually, and was attached to a spending plan that would have built 1,045 units of subsidized housing over the next five years. "It is also a kowtowing to corporate politicians like Jenny Durkan". The Mayor and most of the city council decided it was better to kill it now rather than risk making city residents more upset by delaying the inevitable. "This is exactly the onslaught of lies and misinformation that came at us on the $15 now campaign".

"I think this is problematic enough and Amazon has shown enough troubling behavior that I would drop out" of the running for HQ2, Richard Florida, an urban expert at the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute, told The Hill.

The council struggled to conduct the vote at the meeting's conclusion as protestors chanted "stop the repeal", drowning out councilmembers as they attempted to cast their ballot.

"Money has funded this campaign to put us in a position where we have to repeal this law", said councilmember Lorena Gonzalez.

"Every day, we turn clients away because we don't have enough beds and we don't have enough staff to provide long-term case management to clients in the system", Andrew Coak, a member of the task force and case manager at the Downtown Emergency Services Center, said in a statement. Now, people who support the tax say they'll be taking the fight to the polls.

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