Seat­tle

The Week (US) - - News 7 -

Anti-home­less­ness tax: Seat­tle de­fied ma­jor com­pa­nies such as Ama­zon and Star­bucks this week by pass­ing a new cor­po­rate tax to fund pro­grams ad­dress­ing the city’s grow­ing home­less­ness cri­sis. The City Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved a “head tax” of $275 on each em­ployee at busi­nesses that make at least $20 mil­lion a year in rev­enue, af­fect­ing nearly 600 large em­ploy­ers. The mea­sure is ex­pected to raise about $48 mil­lion an­nu­ally, which will go to­ward build­ing af­ford­able hous­ing and pro­vid­ing emer­gency ser­vices to the home­less. The Seat­tle metro re­gion has the third-largest home­less pop­u­la­tion in the U.S.; a count last year showed 11,600 home­less peo­ple in sur­round­ing King County. The ini­tial pro­posal called for a $500 per em­ployee tax, which trig­gered howls of out­rage from lo­cal busi­ness groups. Ama­zon even halted con­struc­tion plans on a 17-story down­town build­ing in protest. Coun­cil mem­bers even­tu­ally de­cided on a lower rate, fear­ing a may­oral veto.

Aid on the way

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