Seattle City Council passes new payroll tax

VIDEO: Seattle City Council passes tax on big businesses

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council passed the controversial payroll tax on Monday.

The council voted 7-2.

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The payroll tax plan is called Jump Start Seattle, introduced by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.

Amazon and other businesses with annual payrolls of at least $7 million would pay a tax for each employee with a salary of $150,000.

Last week the council voted 7-2 to advance it from a budget committee for final passage.

The tax would raise more than $200 million a year to help with affordable housing, small business assistance and community development.

Some business owners support the plan, including the president of Ethan Stowell Restaurants and Expedia.

There are also critics in the business community who call it a jobs tax, and say that raising taxes during an economic crisis could drive businesses out of the city.

Two councilmembers and Mayor Jenny Durkan say any payroll tax should need voter approval.