The Latest: Seattle repeals tax on companies like Amazon
SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a Seattle tax on large businesses aimed at combating a growing homelessness crisis (all times local):
Seattle leaders have repealed a tax on large companies such as Amazon and Starbucks after businesses fought the measure aimed at combating a growing homelessness crisis.
The City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to reverse a tax that it unanimously approved just a month ago to help provide services in the city. The Seattle region has one of the highest homelessness numbers in the U.S.
Amazon, Starbucks and other businesses sharply criticized the tax as misguided.
The online retailer, the city’s largest employer, even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest.
Mayor Jenny Durkan and a majority of the council have said they scrapped the tax to avoid a costly political fight as a coalition of businesses moved to get a referendum overturning the tax on the November ballot.
Angry people at a Seattle City Council meeting shouted for more time to discuss an upcoming vote on repealing a tax on large businesses like Amazon that aimed to raise money to fight a homelessness crisis.
Council President Bruce Harrell extended the public comment period Tuesday after calls from the audience and a motion from council member Kshama Sawant.
Supporters and opponents of the tax are getting at least another half-hour to tell city leaders their thoughts after they had been speaking for about an hour.
Seattle’s tax, approved just last month, would charge companies about $275 per full-time worker each year and raise roughly $48 million a year for affordable housing and homeless services.
Amazon other large companies objected, saying it would hurt business in the prosperous city.
Amazon balked and Seattle is backing down.
City leaders said they plan to repeal a tax on large companies such as Amazon and Starbucks as they face mounting pressure from businesses, an about-face just a month after unanimously approving the measure to help pay for efforts to combat a growing homelessness crisis.
Mayor Jenny Durkan and seven of nine City Council members said Monday they would move forward to repeal the so-called head tax. A special council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, where a vote is expected.
Seattle’s tax would have charged companies about $275 per full-time worker each year and raise roughly $48 million a year for affordable housing and homeless services.