Seattle Officials to Consider Repealing Tax That Upset Amazon

Posted June 12, 2018 1:07 p.m. EDT

Just a month after it unanimously approved a new tax on the city’s biggest employers, the Seattle City Council plans to reconsider.

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and seven of the nine City Council members said in a statement on Monday that they would weigh a repeal of the law. The lawmakers said that reaction from businesses and community groups, among other entities, pushed them to rethink the tax.

A meeting about the repeal, and possible vote, was expected Tuesday.

“It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis,” the statement said. “These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region. We heard you.”

As enacted, the tax would charge large employers in Seattle $275 per full-time employee. An earlier proposal, which would have charged the companies $500 per employee, drew sharp criticism from Amazon, which halted two major expansion projects in protest.

The enacted measure was expected to raise about $47 million each year to help finance affordable housing projects. Seattle’s economic boom, driven in large part by Amazon’s expansion, has led to skyrocketing housing costs and has forced many residents out of the area.