On Monday, Seattle’s city council announced that they are willing to repeal a controversial “head tax” that taxes the city’s largest employers extra for each employee to help fix the city’s homeless problem.
The measure, which was backed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, has drawn a major backlash from Amazon and Starbucks. Now, the city council plans to repeal the tax just weeks after its passage.
The head tax, which was passed on May 14, requires big businesses to pay $275/year for each employee. The measure is designed to help raise $50 million every year, which will be used to address the city’s rampant homelessness crisis.
Mayor Durkan expects the new tax to lead to a rabid political fight over the next five months. Meanwhile, the Jet City will see its homeless problems grow.
Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell said he will back the repeal effort this week. A vote on the issue is expected this Tuesday.
Seattle’s Homelessness Getting Worse
Local businesses have pushed for a referendum on the controversial head tax. One city council member said she would block the repeal effort if no replacement measure was considered.
While a vote may go forward to repeal the tax, our homelessness and housing affordability crisis gets worse,
said Teresa Mosqueda.
The councilwoman underlined that people are literally dying “on the doorsteps of prosperity” across the city. Also, local residents are affected by the higher housing prices now that Amazon has created several thousand jobs in the city.
Amazon is currently Seattle’s biggest employer. The e-commerce giant blasted the head tax starting on the day of its passage. Business owners are concerned that the tax would discourage new investors from coming to the city.
Image Source: Amazon