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A raising housing crisis prompted Seattle City Council to create a new tax for large businesses that will aim to cease the dire conditions in which thousands of residents have now been led into homelessness. On the forefront of the new tax implementation is Amazon, the biggest company currently resided in the city. Public attention had been intensely focusing on the tax plan for weeks now, as a very crowded public hearing took place a while ago. After a resounding result, in which a 9 to 0 vote favored the implementation of the new tax plan, Seattle city officials are expecting their strategy to do well with the outstanding public support it has received.
Many have supported the plan based on the increasing prices on the real estate market, caused by large companies that have created an unstable environment where middle class Americans are now unable to live in the city. But not everyone seems to be pleased. As it has become increasingly clear, Amazon had serious doubts about the tax plan, especially when it was first introduced as a stern and more demanding proposal.
The company, lead by billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos, is the biggest company and job creator in Seattle and will now be prompted to pay a sum close to $275 per worker each year. This new scenario is certainly not something the company is glad about – on a public statement, Amazon’s vice-president Drew Herdener, made harsh comments about how the city council had proposed a “very aggressive” move that would not allow the company to grow and provide to the city. Pending a decision from city council, Amazon had halted the construction of a new office building downtown. They had been known as the leaders of the opposition, a collective of private sector businesses which voiced out their concerns about the tax plan stating the damage it would create for bigger businesses was too hazardous. After a decision was made public, Amazon decided to carry on with the construction of its new office building. But the company is still considering whether or not it is viable to sublet office space on another building they own, which means they would send off personnel to other parts of the country to avoid raising their tax payments.
Around 500 companies that have declared over $20 million in earnings annually are now prompted to make higher tax payments, according to the new plan. Non-profits and healthcare companies are freed from the new scheme. The tax, which will be put in motion as a five-year plan, aims to increase the city’s income between $45 million to $49 million a year to build affordable housing in Seattle.