Seattle's tax on big business draws attention of more cities


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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 city council views businesses as entities to be punished and taxed for every employee that they hire".

The tax only affects companies with more than $20 million in revenue in the city. The tax would end after five years unless renewed by the city.

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

Amazon criticized the new tax in a blistering statement from vice president Drew Herdener.

Many divergent interests joined together to oppose the head tax, from local activists to unionized ironworkers who lost work when Amazon paused construction on a Seattle facility while waiting for the outcome of the vote.

According to data published in December, Seattle has the third worst homelessness problem, with over 11,600 homeless, behind only Los Angeles County and New York City. It's a lower fee than what many were hoping for, but there are still plenty of concerns.

Seattle's 2018 budget was raised to $63 million on homeless services, up from about $61 million 2017 and $39 million as recently as five years ago. So, if we round that to 12,000, Seattle has spent over $20K per person with no improvement.

"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.

She had offered an amendment to essentially cut the original$75 million tax proposal in half, but her proposal was rejected last Friday.

Amazon's dissatisfaction with Seattle ups the ante for whichever city gets tapped for the company's second headquarters.

"We are disappointed by today's city council decision to introduce a tax on jobs".

A new tax targeting big businesses with large headcounts in Seattle is set to take effect - and Amazon isn't happy about it.

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