Seattle may pull ‘head tax’ after Amazon, Starbucks cry foul

Amazon and other businesses had sharply criticized the levy and the online retail giant even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest

Amazon and other businesses had sharply criticized the levy and the online retail giant even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest

The Seattle City Council will consider repealing the city's controversial new head tax less than a month after approving the measure, Council President Bruce Harrell has announced.

At a council meeting on Monday, Sawant said: "I have a news flash for the elected officials who actually supported this tax, on May 14, but are now capitulating to Amazon: This fight was never going to be easy". He expects a vote during the meeting.

Prior to the announcement, "head tax" opponents, including local business leaders, were scheduled to submit a petition calling for a referendum on the measure on Tuesday.

But "it is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis", they said in a statement.

"It looked like Republicans would make the Seattle employee hours tax a campaign challenge in swing districts around the state", O'Brien said.

"We heard you. This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis".

Speaking to The Seattle Times in his office, a deflated O'Brien sighed deeply before explaining his decision to support the repeal. "We are highly uncertain whether the city council's anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better", Herdener said at the time. "I think the (employee hours tax) represented that".

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, in a statement, said she could not support repeal without a replacement. "We have people who are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity, and our neighbors and friends worry about being able to afford to live in the City while we have a booming economy".

The head tax would have raised $47.4 million a year to spend toward affordable housing and homeless services as the city continues to grapple with its homelessness crisis.

After resistance from Mayor Jenny Durkan and opposition from companies such as Amazon and construction-worker unions, the council approved the scaled-back version.

If the city council was to repeal the tax without a referendum, it would avoid additional election costs, according to the legislation summary note.

Denise Moriguchi, CEO of Uwajimaya, says her family-owned business that has been in the Seattle community for 90 years.

The Chamber of Commerce has convinced the vast majority of Seattleites 1) of the exhausted, old conservative trope that increased levels of human suffering we see in our city is caused by government inefficiency rather than by the Gilded Age level income inequality in Seattle and elsewhere, and 2) that leading first with a regional funding approach, reliant on higher property or sales taxes for all taxpayers, is preferable to resources from those most benefiting from income inequality in Seattle paying their fair share.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, who opposed the tax, urged a renewed focus on a "region-wide response" to homelessness. They didn't provide a backup funding plan. "We can only do this with the collective commitment of the entire community - business and philanthropy, labor and community organizations, government and individuals".

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