12/15/2019

Seattle reverses course on business tax after Amazon pressure

Just weeks after passing a new tax on big businesses, Seattle political leaders signaled late Monday they would reverse course and repeal it.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and city council President Bruce Harrell said in statements that they would end the tax, initially meant to combat rising homelessness in a city where housing prices have soared.

“We heard you,” Durkan and seven of the nine city council members said in a statement. “This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.”

Business groups, led by the city’s largest employers like Amazon and Starbucks, had raised $200,000 in just a few weeks to gather signatures for a referendum challenging the new tax. They had planned to submit those signatures on Tuesday in an effort to place the referendum on the November ballot.

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