GOP Legislators Will Fight Seattle Head Tax as Unconstitutional

Starbucks was scathing Tuesday in its criticism of the Seattle City Council which on Monday unanimously passed a controversial tax on big businesses to help fund affordable housing and fight homelessness

Seattle City Council Passes $45 Million Head Tax Compromise

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez slammed Amazon, saying "their tone in this message that is clearly hostile toward the city council is not what I expect from a business who continues to tell us that they want to be a partner on these issues".

When the city council was considering a head tax a year ago, councilmembers were unable to agree on an employee-hours tax of 6.4 cents per employee per hour, which would have generated about $25 million annually.

Following the council vote, Amazon's vice president, Drew Herdener, said the company has resumed construction planning for its Block 18 project in downtown Seattle, following the pause it announced two weeks ago. That original compromise was voted down Friday.

The lower tax was the result of feverish negotiations over the weekend between members of the City Council and Seattle's mayor, Jenny Durkan, who had opposed the council's earlier tax proposal. "A tax on jobs at any level is bad economic policy and will negatively impact Seattle's economy and city tax revenues". The company did not comment on the new compromise when GeekWire asked ahead of Monday's meeting.

The tech company had threatened to withdraw investment in a new skyscraper under the original bill, which called for a $500 per head tax.

Amazon's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is the world's richest man with a $133bn fortune.

Supporters of the tax cite data showing Seattle's median home prices have soared to more than $820,000, and more than 41% of renters are classed as "rent-burdened". "If we had a weaker movement, we could have won less or even nothing".

Amazon's dissatisfaction with Seattle ups the ante for whichever city gets tapped for the company's second headquarters.

Facebook goes after apps that access its users' data, suspends 200
MPs have again criticised Facebook for submitting "insufficient" evidence to a parliamentary inquiry about how it handles data. The British firm was accused of unauthorized use of data in the interests of political clients.


Residents showed up two hours before the vote Monday to wait in line and claim a space in the chamber, which was packed to capacity. "We are fighting everywhere, '" Sawant said.

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City officials say the housing crisis has outpaced their efforts to add to the city's housing supply.

Now the mayor and City Council have to decide whether to take this threat seriously. United Way of King County spent around $6.5 million in 2017. The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the US and saw 169 homeless deaths previous year.

Final decisions on how to spend the revenue in 2019 will be made when the mayor and council put together a city budget this fall.

Amazon employs more than 45,000 people in Seattle, and the retailer's growth is seen as a factor in skyrocketing housing costs in the area.

Though he is the person who had declared in November 2015 that the situation of the homelessness was depleting every passing day and even said the situation was of a five-alarm state of emergency, his statement has taken a U-turn in 2.5 years.

The council convened a 17-member Progressive Revenue Task Force, which in March published a report calling for an EHT that would raise at least $75 million.

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