Seattle passes a smaller version of the 'Amazon tax'

Seattle City Councilmembers debate dueling head-tax proposals on Friday May 11

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Top-grossing Seattle businesses will be taxed $275 per employee, per hour worked - down from $500 previously - each year for five years.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is one of Seattle's largest employers, and a new city tax is about to take a toll on the e-commerce giant. Instead of the $75 million a year the tax was originally expected to raise, it will bring in less than $50 million. That original compromise was voted down Friday. Four bill sponsors initially pitched a tax of $500 per full-time employee a year but a compromise proposal emerged over weekend after they couldn't muster the six votes needed to override a potential veto by Mayor Jenny Durkan. "This will be seen by every city where Amazon is building towers". The tax that made it across the finish line is actually smaller than the original proposal the city was considering. The head tax is the largest in USA history. With more than 40,000 employees and counting, Amazon is at the center of the conversation and the explicit target of Sawant, who has called the proposal "Tax Amazon Legislation". Almost 600 employers - about 3 percent of all Seattle businesses - would pay the tax starting in 2019. "If we had a weaker movement, we could have won less or even nothing".

Amazon on Monday evening said it was "disappointed" in the "tax on jobs".

The firm had been expecting to house 7,000 employees in the two spaces. Amazon's plans in Seattle after today's vote are not clear.

A new tax approved by the Seattle City Council has triggered a fierce war of words between the liberal city and its behemoth corporations usually known for their progressive outlook.

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"When we start talking about changing that system that benefits some to make it more fair, there's a lot of resistance", Councilmember Mike O'Brien said during Monday's meeting. "We'll be back for more!" The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the USA and saw 169 homeless deaths in 2017. The city council president, Bruce Harrell, spoke to a growing "fear of what this city is becoming". A recent audit of King County's response to the crisis gives weight to that view. The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the United States and saw 169 homeless deaths past year.

Speak Out Seattle cofounder Elizabeth James said her group wants an independent audit of all city departments, and for the city to better support law enforcement and funding for drug treatment and mental health services.

According to the Housing for All Coalition, Seattle needs more than 27,000 affordable housing units for households earning less than $24,000 annually.

The Associated Press reports that the Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the USA, despite the city spending $68 million on combating homelessness previous year. A count previous year found King County's homeless population to have reached more than 11,000, and a pro bono report issued last week by McKinsey & Co. for the Seattle Chamber of Commerce found that it would cost about $400 million to address the shortage of affordable housing in the area.

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