Well, that didn’t long, did it? Just a few weeks after it was unanimously approved, Seattle’s “Amazon head tax” was repealed by a 7-2 city council vote.
It was controversial when it was passed a few weeks ago but the Amazon head tax is no more. The Seattle city council voted 7-2 to repeal the new tax and the mayor is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
What Killed It?
Businesses in general were not fans of the tax, which would cost them $275 per employee per year. While Amazon was the poster child for the opposition, it wasn’t a just about Amazon. Some 600 Seattle area businesses would be affected by the tax and not all of them have deeper pockets.
The controversial tax was aimed at raising money to combat the city’s homeless problem which was declared an emergency in 2015. Voters did not largely support the tax in the first place. Petitions were already being circulated to put the tax up for a November referendum.
Proponents of the tax did not think it would survive a ballot measure.
“Instead of engaging in a prolonged, expensive political fight, the city and I will continue to move forward on building real partnerships that align our strategies from businesses, advocates (and) philanthropy,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement.
Businesses warned that the tax amounted to a “tax on jobs” as well as predicting price increases as a result. Detractors also lambasted the city’s handling of the current homeless problem. In a shocking about-face the so-called Amazon head tax was gone.
It’s back to the drawing board for Seattle which has no backup plan. For Seattle area businesses however, the immediate threat of increased taxes seems to be over.
This is good news for anyone looking to move to Seattle and/or start a business. If a “tax on jobs” exists, it is likely that company’s will cut employees where possible to save. It also threatens to make the city a less friendly place to start a business.
Seattle is already considered an expensive place to live so residents are wary about taxes. If you’re wary about taxes, give City vs City a try.
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