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Seattle is introducing a new tax on large employers that will help fund homelessness and affordable housing programs-despite opposition from companies such as Amazon.

The tax, which has been unofficially nicknamed the "Amazon Tax", - named after the online retailer which is headquartered in Seattle - will affect businesses that generate annual revenue of $20 million or more, the Seattle Times reported.

Durkan had proposed halving the proposed $500 per employee head tax, and council president Bruce Harrell floated legislation with similar language on Friday, but that didn't get enough support.

"The City of Seattle has an obligation to take care of those people who are suffering on our city's streets", Gonzalez said prior to Monday's vote.

The original tax proposal was almost twice as high and would have generated close to $80 million. Seattle has long struggled with its homelessness issue, declaring a state of emergency because of it in 2015.

The head tax has ignited something of an existential debate for Seattle over its monumental growth. "We are highly uncertain whether the city council's anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better", Herdener said.


"A tax on jobs at any level is bad economic policy and will negatively impact Seattle's economy and city tax revenues", Downtown Seattle Association spokesperson James Sido wrote in a statement.

There will also be $14.6 million in workforce stability funding over five years, providing a 4 percent raise for direct service homeless contracts. The e-commerce giant paused construction on one of its office towers and said it is reconsidering occupying another. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), called Monday's vote a "huge victory" and noted that yearly revenue from the new tax on Amazon will be roughly equivalent to what Bezos makes in an hour.

The original proposal would've charged around $500 per full-time employee instead of $275, which would've brought up to $86 million a year into city coffers, per new estimates; Durkan had said she would've vetoed that measure. The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the USA and saw 169 homeless deaths in 2017. The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the United States and saw 169 homeless deaths a year ago. The report states it would take "between $360 million and $410 million a year to tackle current levels of homelessness-that's twice today's spending".

"While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the hostile approach and rhetoric towards larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here", company vice president Drew Herdener said.

Amazon, which halted two major expansion projects in Seattle in protest over the larger tax increase, said it was disappointed even with the smaller tax package, although the company said it would restart the planning process for one of its new buildings.

González said she had hoped to be voting "on a different package" with more money, but "I'm glad to be able to finally move this forward".


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