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Seattle's tax on Amazon to help homeless may fall short, locals say

17 May 2018

Seattle's city council voted for a new tax on large employers in the city. "Unfortunately, when the city of Seattle proposed a modest, progressive tax on big corporations to fund housing affordability and homelessness initiatives, Amazon made a decision to be part of the problem and not the solution".

Given that there is hot competition from other American cities to become home to Amazon's second headquarters, this stated apprehension about the Seattle's business climate, should give Seattle's City Council pause. "Those are the jobs that will leave first due to this tax".

Two state senators - Republican Mark Schoesler and Democrat Mark Mullet - have said the city's move was a violation of the state constitution and promised to attempt legislation in January that would overturn the tax.

Ms. Sawant doesn't like Amazon very much anyway: she has led ralliesagainst Amazon at the company's headquarters, with protesters carrying Sawant's trademark "Tax Amazon" signs.

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

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"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. He's suggesting that a head tax will result in fewer permanent hires within the city.

"People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity. Better to invest in a different city, perhaps a different state". She called the compromise plan "a down payment" to build housing the city needs.

Herdener thinks that instead of increasing taxes for businesses, the city should improve its finance managing, and even called the council "anti-business".

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.

Seattle homelessness has doubled in the last 8 years.

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Median rents have doubled since 2010, according to real estate firm Zillow, and the area has the third highest homeless population in the nation, according to US government statistics. The tax will provide additional revenue.

"We must make urgent progress on our affordability and homelessness crisis", Durkan said in a statement Wednesday.

Other cities have put in place similar taxes, but critics have said Seattle's tax could threaten the booming local economy and drive away jobs.

However businesses in the city view the proposal to tax corporations based on employee count as damaging and with the potential of destroying jobs.

The company expressed disappointment with the outcome. He went on to say that the "city does not have a revenue problem - it has a spending efficiency problem".

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Amazon vice president and spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement that the tax's passage "forces us to question our growth" in Seattle, where Amazon is planning a new 17-story office tower. Shannon Brown, who lives in a home at a homeless encampment in south Seattle, supported the measure.

Seattle's tax on Amazon to help homeless may fall short, locals say