Seattle's mayor concerned about head tax after Amazon threat

Council member's voice drowned by protesters at an event near Amazon.

SEATTLE — Mayor Jenny Durkan's response comes in the wake of yesterday's announcement that Amazon has put a hold on Seattle's growth while the head tax is decided. And after last night's angry meeting over city's approach to homelessness in Ballard.

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"I am very concerned that what impact Amazon's decision could have on a whole range of businesses and jobs in our region. From the trade unions to nurses to teachers to tech workers," she said at a news conference announcing plans for greater coordination of homelessness services with King County.

Asked if the City Council should give up on the head tax in light of the Amazon threat, the mayor responded, "I think we all have to work together. I will work and continue to work with business, with the council, with labor." 

A bare majority of City Council members appear to be supporting the business head tax. So by avoiding a definitive stand in public for now, the mayor keeps negotiating options open.

"I don't think that we can make this a digital yes-no, my-way-or-the-highway, that isn't a way to get to good public policy, So I don't think that just telling anybody to give up what they believe in their hearts is the right way to go," Durkan said.

This year Seattle alone will spend $71 million to address homelessness crisis, but the problem extends well beyond the city limits into King County.

So today Durkan and county executive Dow Constantine signed an agreement to create a coordinated regional approach.

But it will be tough.

"The way this state has been set up has been set up since it's inception makes it enormously difficult to act together as one, regionally," said Constantine.