Under pressure from Amazon, Seattle will abolish poll tax

After voting, Seattle City Council members abolished this so-called “head tax” with a 7:2 vote, which was only passed four weeks ago.

The previous day, the “No Tax On Jobs campaign” campaign broke out in Seattle. More than 45,000 signatures were collected, enough to require the government to abolish the new tax law in November this year. Amazon, Starbucks and the like Big companies that may be affected by the poll tax have promised to provide substantial financial support for the campaign.

According to the previous “head tax” regulation, companies with annual revenues of more than US$20 million need to pay taxes every year according to the number of employees, and each employee has US$275. The tax will be collected from next year with a levy of 5 years and total tax and fee of approximately 47 million U.S. dollars. The tax will be used to increase the construction of affordable housing and provide service funds for vagrants.


Amazon and other companies also made sharp criticisms of this tax, and Amazon even temporarily suspended construction plans for new high-rise buildings near the Seattle headquarters as a protest.

New York City Mayor Jenny Durkan and seven of the city council’s nine members said on Monday they worked with a range of groups and passed a measure last month to strike a balance between protecting employment and supporting affordable housing. However, a coalition of companies is trying to overturn this measure in a referendum in November.

In a statement, Durkan and members of the Security Council said: “Obviously, the decree will lead to long-term, costly political struggles over the next five months, which will not help solve our emergency housing and homeless crisis.”

The Amazon spokesperson said: We will be deeply committed to becoming a solution to the problem of homelessness in Seattle and will continue to invest in local non-profit organizations such as Mary’s Place and FareStart. They have played a catalytic role in this major issue.

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