Amazon On Lookout For 2nd Headquarter Amid Seattle Tax Row

16 May, 2018, 11:32 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Seattle City Council Passes $45 Million Head Tax Compromise

One of Seattle's most controversial proposals in years passed unanimously in city council today - but after some significant revisions.

The approval Monday brought a victory for Lisa Herbold and Lorena Gonzalez, the legislative architects on the plan, and, maybe, some time to finally rest after a weekend of negotiating. Amazon said it is being forced to question future growth in the city, and noted that revenue was increasing quicker than the population increase. After deliberations between the Council, Mayor's office, and the business community, a leaner, $275-per-employee bill that sunsets in five years was eventually passed. Last week, Amazon - the employer of more than 45,000 Seattleites that is on the hook for an estimated $20 million under the tax - announced it was pausing construction planning on a tower downtown and would consider renting some of its office space to other companies if the fee goes through. Seattle reportedly has the third-largest concentration of homeless people in the United States.

"We could not find the votes we needed", he told The Seattle Times.

"The city could have slightly raised its property tax, which is more visible to voters, rather than effectively taxing workers through their employers", he said. The firm posted net revenue of $177.8 billion United States dollars in 2017. So the city is restricted in how it can raise revenue, and now relies on sales and property taxes as well as a business and occupancy tax.

"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", added Starbucks' John Kelly. Kelley also accused the city of continuing to "spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside". This was a clear threat by Amazon to do substantial harm to the business and financial condition of the city of Seattle if public officials did not act as they demanded... Even if you look at the high cost of living in places like San Francisco and Seattle, it's hard for mayors and other local politicians to see these high-paying jobs and not feel like they have to do everything in their power to attract or keep these jobs - even if they might come with increased housing prices.

Other unions, including the Service Employees International Union, supported the tax.

Seattle City Council Passes $45 Million Head Tax Compromise
Seattle approves plan for 'reasonable' tax on its largest businesses to help pay for housing, homelessness

Amazon is headed by Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.

The so-called "head tax" has been hotly debated in recent weeks at raucous meetings and rallies.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, who expressed concern that the original proposal would lead to an economic backlash, said she would sign the new tax ordinance into law. Sawant did not deny it and said she believes it is OK to use taxpayer-funded equipment for her "movement".

But Seattle's Chamber of Commerce said that "taxing jobs will not fix our region's housing and homelessness problems". The number of homeless students in the city's public schools has tripled, to almost 4,300 last school year.

"Make no mistake. Money is power under capitalism", Sawant said, noting that an independent expenditure supporting Durkan accepted $350,000 from Amazon.

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