Socialists, Big Labor Behind 'Head Tax' That Punishes Seattle Businesses For Hiring

Socialists, Big Labor Behind 'Head Tax' That Punishes Seattle Businesses For Hiring

As Seattle's largest employer, Amazon will pay more money than any other company when the city imposes its "head tax" in January to fund homelessness outreach. The so-called "head tax" would raise roughly $48 million a year to build new affordable housing units and provide emergency homeless services.

It has been watched closely by other cities amid a highly publicized search for a second North American headquarters by Amazon, the world's largest online retailer with first-quarter revenues of almost $50 billion.

A council chamber packed mostly with rowdy, shouting supporters of the tax erupted in cheers and sign waving Monday once the 9-0 vote was recorded. Does she not realize that the giant, job-providing company could pack up and leave Seattle?

Of Seattle's largest employers - a group that includes Nintendo, Microsoft, and Expedia - two stand to be hit the hardest: Amazon and Starbucks.

Seattle-based Starbucks had harsh words for its hometown leaders.

"This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside".

"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", said Kelly. As such, many homeless individuals are bounced from place to place, or forced to live on the street while seeking affordable housing within the city.

"People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity". The tax applies to all businesses in the city that gross more than $20 million annually.

Members of the City Council approved a smaller version of the head tax. "The city council views businesses as entities to be punished and taxed for every employee that they hire".

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, a bill sponsor, said the revenue will not be enough to fully address the problem given the city's needs but said it was "the strongest proposal" possible given the veto threat.

Being the third region in the US with the highest number of homeless people, the city has been driving reforms to tackle the problem, as at least 169 homeless people died on Seattle's streets in 2017. Last week Amazon threatened to halt expansion plans in the city should the proposal be passed. It's a company, after all, that paid zero dollars in federal income taxes on $5.6 billion in revenue past year.

"This legislation will help us address our homelessness crisis without jeopardizing critical jobs", Durkan said in a statement. That approach makes sense only if the businesses that have made Seattle a thriving city are nailed to the ground. Amazon, with 45,000 workers, would take the biggest hit.

"We are disappointed by today's City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs", Amazon said in a statement.

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