Councilmember Sawant plans grassroots push for Amazon tax

VIDEO: Sawant launching new campaign to tax big business

SEATTLE — The stage was set on election night in November. Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, a socialist, was reelected despite a huge push from Amazon and other corporations to defeat her and shape a more business-friendly council.

“We ran on taxing big business, we ran on rent control so there was no doubt on voters’ minds when they voted for us,” Sawant said in an interview at Seattle City Hall today. She’s shaping what she calls the “Amazon tax.”

“Only large corporations like Amazon, not just Amazon, but only large corporations will be taxed, meaning the top 3% of or the top 2% of corporations.

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Five years after winning the battle for a $15 an hour minimum wage, Sawant will use the same pressure tactics to win the battle for a tax on Seattle’s biggest corporations.

She’ll work to get the City Council and mayor to pass a big business tax but if that fails, she’ll ask voters to approve.

“Absolutely if the council doesn't pass a tax on big business than it should be left to the voters.”

Construction workers stormed City Hall two years ago -- when Amazon stopped its construction projects in protest of an employer head tax just passed by the City Council.

The council quickly repealed it with only two members including Sawant voting “no.”.

Now much of Amazon's construction in Seattle is complete.

Perhaps more construction jobs may be created by Sawant's plan for the Amazon tax money -- affordable housing.

“Which means publicly owned, permanently affordable social housing which means housing for all working people. Energy efficient apartments built with union living wage jobs.”

After the election, Amazon said basically it hoped to find ways to work with the City Council. The company had no further statement today.

Sawant is launching her grassroots campaign with a rally scheduled for this coming Monday evening at Washington Hall in Seattle.