Seattle To Vote on Controversial Head Tax on Amazon, Others

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The money will reportedly be used to combat Seattle's raging homeless problem, but critics are asking what's happened to the millions already spent on such programs over the last few years.

Scruggs reported from Seattle. That's driven the cost of housing up.

Meanwhile, opponents say the head is a "misguided" plan and urge city leaders to consider a different approach to funding affordable housing and homeless services.

In a 8-1 vote, the council - some reluctantly - chose a new version of the plan introduced as Amendment 24 during the afternoon full council session with sponsorship from eight of the nine members - all save Capitol Hill's District 3 rep, Kshama Sawant.

That "head tax" formula is created to raise $45 million to $49 million a year over the five-year life of the tax - down from an original $75 million annually - to build more affordable housing and support services for the homeless.

But David said his clinic has a profit margin of less than 1 percent and would have had an operating loss of nearly $500,000 if the tax was in effect this year. The halt put 7,000 jobs on the line. The city council president, Bruce Harrell, spoke to a growing "fear of what this city is becoming".


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) No head tax, no head tax.

ADOLPH: As you know, I'm also a rank-and-file member of.

Pierce County is not considering a head tax.

Amazon has driven Seattle's economy in recent years, drawing thousands of well-paid workers to the region. Now 20 places are on the company's short list.

Seattle's city council on Monday approved a new tax for the city's biggest companies, including Amazon.com Inc., to combat a housing crisis attributed in part to a local economic boom that has driven up real estate costs at the expense of the working class.

But Jeff Shulman, an associate professor in the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, said he thinks Amazon is more focused on the long term.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: They can't be the only company that's thinking about leaving. It's way too expensive.

This head tax has been scaled back from the original proposal of $500.

A line winds through Seattle City Hall as "head tax" supporters and opponents prepare for City Council meeting.

And the tax would expire after 5 years.

As an aside, Bagshaw chastised Sawant at a morning briefing, accusing her and her staff of using city copiers to print out her "Tax Amazon" signs, saying she found it inappropriate. Saturday, councilmember Sawant led a march on Amazon's headquarters urging passage of the tax. And with Amazon's future growth headed elsewhere, the big fear in Seattle is that a head tax could kill jobs.

TREVOR ROBINSON: For those who are afraid that this tax would result in losing your jobs, your fear is absolutely valid. "We have a lot more work to do".


The opposite scenario-that one of the five members who voted for the original $500 tax will join the four-member minority that wants to cut it in half-seems highly unlikely, since all five council members have consistently supported the proposal that came out of the task force, and since they stand to gain more, politically speaking, by forcing Durkan into a veto fight than by switching sides and handing the mayor a bloodless victory. "There's no away I can afford to live in Seattle".

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