Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant held a conference after Amazon's decision Wednesday to pause construction in Seattle amid a head tax proposal.
SEATTLE — Nearly immediately, a group of construction workers drowned Sawant out, chanting, "No head tax."
The Seattle City Council may again delay the vote on a proposed head tax on the city’s largest businesses, sources tell Mike Lewis from KIRO 7's partner, KIRO Radio.
The delay will give the city time to potentially re-craft legislation.
Mike Lewis reports the council was surprised by the enormous blowback from Amazon surrounding the head tax. Though he says there is still support for it within the council, it likely won’t pass as is.
Council members were surprised to hear that Amazon was halting plans to expand in Seattle. The company cited the proposed head tax as the deterrent from further building in the city.
The current proposal is to tax the Seattle’s biggest businesses 26 cents per employee, per hour. Proponents argue the tax would target about 3 percent of total businesses in the city. It would raise about $75 million a year to help tackle the homeless and affordability issues the city faces.
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The council was expected to vote on the proposed tax as early as May 14. That vote may have been pushed back to May 21.
Despite resistance from the business community, a statement signed by several council members was released Wednesday. In it, council members argued the head tax doesn’t just target Amazon.
“This was never a proposal targeting one company, but Amazon made the conversation about them when they expressed their intentions to pause construction on their new office tower pending a vote on our Progressive Tax on Business,” the statement reads.
The statement was attributed to Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, Teresa Mosqueda, and Mike O’Brien. Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Sally Bagshaw, Rob Johnson, Debora Juarez, and Bruce Harrell did not sign the statement.
The effort to tax the city’s most profitable businesses has struggled since it was originally proposed last year. It was rejected in November by a 5-4 vote.
Cox Media Group