City Council to Reverse Tax A Month After Approval - Katie Zehnder

City Council to Reverse Tax A Month After Approval - Katie Zehnder

But Amazon did indicate a willingness to move forward with its hometown in a statement issued after the vote.

It comes as a group formed by funding from numerous city's largest employers and business groups including the downtown chamber opposing the employee hour tax announced over the weekend it had collected more than the needed signatures required to put a repeal initiative on the ballot.

The first proposal would have taxed big businesses $500 per employee annually, and was attached to a spending plan that would have built 1,045 units of subsidized housing over the next five years. Starbucks and Amazon each kicked in $25,000 for the effort, and supermarket groups put in $80,000, according to the Seattle Times.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signaled this week that her administration was seeking a "repeal" of the so-called "homeless tax" over mounting public pressure and a major pushback from local businesses. Amazon begrudgingly resumed construction on Block 18 but said it was weighing its options for Rainier Square.

Even if Seattle could muster a win for both head tax measures and the education levy, O'Brien said there's still a question of whether the head tax could last if Olympia also tries to repeal it. Republicans want it gone, and Democrats leaning more conservative than Seattle officials and running for election could campaign with an anti-head tax platform.

The head tax killed by City Council today wasn't set to actually start bringing in revenue until 2019.

When the tax was originally approved, the council faced opposition from not only the businesses which the tax would be imposed upon, such as Amazon, but also from conservative pundits nationwide, while they were simultaneously praised by progressive activists.

During the City Council meeting, Sawant added: "Why is the council surprised this is happening?"

But Amazon is one of hundreds of companies that would have been affected by the tax. "[But] it has become more and more clear that the people of Seattle seem to agree with Amazon - and at least part of the narrative they and the Chamber of Commerce have been putting out".

Ad Lightning CEO Scott Moore.

Jeff Shulman, an associate professor in the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, said the way the tax got pushed through is the antithesis of the collaborative spirit the city is known for.

"We're turning away people at the shelter daily", said Julie Nordgren who works for Downtown Emergency Service Center, one of the region's top providers of supportive housing for the homeless. She also says her priority remains on the addressing the severe housing shortage that remains a driver of homelessness in the region. "So, where is that money going to come from if we don't have the courage to take it?" I have to say that in my own personal experience, I'm heavily audited by the city so I feel like we are being responsible stewards.

Nelson Del Rio, co-CEO of the modular housing startup Blokable, believes that the lack of a coherent strategy is widening the chasm between the tech industry and City Hall. "I look at what the campaign looks like, with the business community spending millions on a message that Seattle is wasting our money, and good folks fighting on the other side that I agree with, that this is needed, but with heated rhetoric all around that this is an existential battle for the city", he said, "I worry we'd get to the end and are beat up and don't have a solution". Business leaders from companies like Vulcan, Zillow, Tableau, Amazon, PEMCO, and more will convene with representatives from King County, City of Seattle, United Way of King County, and other organizations to come up with ideas to help realize the "No Child Sleeps Outside" vision, an initiative launched by Mary's Place and supported by Starbucks.

"We heard you", Durkan and seven of the nine city council members said in a statement. "That's a really hard thing to do, as a social service provider, and it's a hard thing to watch".

"We need to know what's working, what's not working and direct funding there".

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