A 7-2 vote last Tuesday by The Seattle City Council is a surprise victory for huge companies including Amazon and Starbucks. The vote repeals a head tax for all big companies in the city. The meeting was called by Council President Bruce Harrell and 6 other city council members. Seattle citizens protested the meeting with “stop the repeal” chants while councilmembers attempted to cast their votes.
Back on May 14th, a council ruling required companies that pull in $20 million or more in revenue to pay $275 per employee annually. The tax was aimed to fight Seattle’s growing homelessness problem. The city council originally expected the tax to pull in $50 million a year. A change of heart sparked the tax repeal.
Amazon vice president Drew Herdener issued the following statement:
“Today’s vote by the Seattle City Council to repeal the tax on job creation is the right decision for the region’s economic prosperity. We are deeply committed to being part of the solution to end homelessness in Seattle and will continue to invest in local nonprofits like Mary’s Place and FareStart that are making a difference on this important issue.”
Amazon, a company with about 45,000 employees, would have had to pay around $12.4 million annually.
Starbucks vice president John Kelly issued a similar statement:
“We welcome this move by the City Council and believe the best path forward is to implement the reforms recommended two years ago by the city’s own homelessness expert. Starbucks remains a committed partner to government officials, business leaders, and family service providers. Together we must work to bring families inside, once and for all.”
In May, both Amazon and Starbucks criticized the head tax following the first city council ruling. Other big companies, including Microsoft, Boeing and Nordstrom, did not speak publically about the tax.
Seattle has been fighting their homelessness problems for years. The city council believes that this strategy will alleviate the soaring statistics.
Featured Image via Flickr/garryknight