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