Seattle repeals tax after Amazon fights back
Seattle leaders repealed a tax on large companies such as Amazon and Starbucks after a backlash from businesses, a stark reversal from a month ago when the City Council unanimously approved the effort to combat a growing homelessness crisis.
The council voted 7-2 after supporters and opponents packed a meeting with signs saying, “Tax Amazon, housing for all” and “No tax on jobs,” with some shouting for more time to discuss the issue.
The vote showed Amazon’s ability to aggressively push back on government taxes, especially in its affluent hometown where it’s the largest employer and where some have criticized it for helping cultivate a widening income gap that is pricing lower-income workers out of housing.
The tax was proposed as a progressive revenue source aimed at tackling one of the nation’s highest homelessness numbers, a problem that hasn’t eased even as city spending on the issue grew.
Businesses and residents demanded more accountability in how Seattle funds homelessness and housing and said it should take a regional approach to the problem. Many worried that Amazon and others would leave the city, with construction workers in hard hats and safety packing City Hall to object to the tax.