Here's what happens next with Seattle's $275-per-employee head tax

Adjust Comment Print

Amazon has threatened to move jobs out of its hometown of Seattle after the city council introduced a new tax to try and address the homelessness crisis.

The tax is projected to bring the city about $45 million of new annual revenue, according to a spending plan prepared by council staff.

Seattle's largest businesses such as Amazon and Starbucks will have to pay a new tax to help fund homeless services and affordable housing under a measure approved by city leaders.

After copious meetings and negotiations, the Seattle City Council on May 14 reached a compromise for an employee-hours tax for affordable housing development and homeless services.

Amazon on Monday evening said it was "disappointed" in the "tax on jobs". They called it a tax on jobs and questioned whether city officials were spending current resources effectively. So perhaps there will be a compromise that convinces one of the council members who opposes the larger tax to join the council majority.

More news: Incremental North Korean denuclearisation will be unacceptable - South Korea official

As Dallas works to lure Amazon to North Texas for a second headquarters location, the company is unhappy with Seattle where its primary headquarters is located. "If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable address or opiate addiction". The once dormant city has now become an extended part of Silicon Valley, thanks to the growth of Giants like Microsoft, Google and Amazon amongst others.

"People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity".

"Our goal is to have a successful and vibrant business community - one of the best in the country - and at the same time, assist our most vulnerable and strategically invest in affordable housing", Council President Bruce Harrell said in a statement.

Thus far, Amazon hasn't engaged in debates on Beacon Hill and in Boston's City Hall. That's down from $500 per employee proposed in the initial head tax plan, which faced a potential veto from Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The homelessness report commissioned by the local Chamber of Commerce, which was written by McKinsey and Company, said that local governments need to be spending between $164 and $214 million more to fulfill the region's homelessness needs.

More news: ESPN Films & Netflix Team Up for Michael Jordan Doc Series

A survey taken past year showed Seattle has around 11,600 homeless on its streets and that one in 16 schoolchildren are without permanent shelter. A point-in-time count past year tallied more than 11,600 homeless people in King County.

The city spent $68 million on homelessness previous year, according to NBC. The task force wanted the council to use other potential progressive revenue sources to generate an additional $75 million.

Underlying all of this is the fact that Seattle really does have a serious problem with homelessness, one that is driving even some long-time residents away from the city. The law would affect about 3 percent of business in the city, according to the council.

Amazon vice president Drew Herdener issued a statement following the vote, expressing disappointment. Among other big companies expected to be hit by the tax are Starbucks and the Seattle Times.CNBC notes Denver and Chicago have imposed similar head taxes, though Chicago ended up repealing it.

"Make no mistake. Money is power under capitalism", Sawant said, noting that an independent expenditure supporting Durkan accepted $350,000 from Amazon. "They are dying on our streets today because there is not enough shelter" and housing.

More news: Facebook has disabled 583 million fake accounts in the past three months