Amazon Resumes Seattle Construction After Head Tax Vote

Calvin Saunders
May 16, 2018

Meantime, Amazon is rapidly expanding in other cities, including Boston, where Tuesday it celebrated the opening of a new office on Melcher Street in Fort Point.

Herdener said Amazon, which had paused planning on two downtown Seattle office towers pending the outcome of the vote, would resume construction planning on one of them - Block 18.

After copious meetings and negotiations, the Seattle City Council on May 14 reached a compromise for an employee-hours tax for affordable housing development and homeless services.

The original tax proposal was almost twice as high and would have generated close to $80 million.

Councilwoman Sawant talks a lot about union labor, but in this case, many rank-and-file union members are against the head tax because their jobs (building the new skyscrapers Amazon will inhabit) are dependent on the company staying in the city.

After that, councillors will have to vote again on whether or not to renew it. So it's not the first time Amazon has "questioned" its growth in Seattle, and likely not the last. But corporations, including Amazon and even the mayor, are warning the City Council not to move forward with this tax.

Some construction workers opposed the tax out of concern for their jobs while supporters pressed the council to do something about the rapidly expanding number of homeless families in the city.

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Co-sponsor of the charge, Teresa Mosqueda, said the bill was an opportunity to provide housing: "People are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity", she said.

A compromise has been struck over the controversial proposed Head Tax by the Seattle City Council.

Speak Out Seattle cofounder Elizabeth James said her group wants an independent audit of all city departments, and for the city to better support law enforcement and funding for drug treatment and mental health services.

The city of Seattle lost because it failed to articulate a well-thought out strategy for dealing with homelessness; passed a watered-down bill that alienated the business community; and only won half as much revenue as it said it needed.

"Seattle just told the world that if you bring jobs to Seattle, the tax and spenders in the city will tax them", ATR President Grover Norquist said in a statement. It is expected to generate $47 million a year and will expire at the end of 2023.

The homelessness epidemic is the inconvenient truth of the tech boom that has fueled growth in Seattle, the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and its a problem for both city governments and the tech companies in their area. Sayeth Steve: "I hope that the states are more focused on cutting their budgets and giving tax cuts to their people in their states than they are in trying to evade the law". There were 11,600 homeless people living in the county a year ago, according to The Seattle Times. "We will also continue to work towards a regional solution to homelessness because Seattle can not go it alone", Durkan said in a statement.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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