Amazon had led private-sector opposition to the plan, saying earlier this month it was freezing expansion planning for Seattle pending the outcome of Monday's action. "This is the richest city in the state and in a state that has the most regressive tax system in the country", said councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who wanted a heftier tax.
A council chamber packed mostly with rowdy, shouting supporters of the tax erupted in cheers and sign waving Monday once the 9-0 vote was recorded.
The tax would take effect at the beginning of 2019, requiring an estimated 585 of Seattle's largest businesses to pay $275 per full-time worker per year.
It replaces what had been a proposed $500-per-head tax.
Amazon said it is still evaluating whether to sub-lease space in a second future office tower in Seattle, a project called Rainier Square, meaning it may move some planned jobs elsewhere and thus avoid further raising its tax liability.
Herdener thinks that instead of increasing taxes for businesses, the city should improve its finance managing, and even called the council "anti-business". "Technically", comments Bryan Menegus in Gizmodo, the tax is "calculated by multiplying working hours by about 26 cents for full-time employees (defined as 480 or more hours per quarter) at Seattle businesses generating over $20 million in revenue per year".
The city spent about US$68 million on homeless programs a year ago and built homes for 3,400 people. If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction.
"This is hilarious, two of the biggest and most liberal companies in the US now want to tap out because their cities are too liberal", Coglianese said. The total will increase if Amazon follows through on plans to expand its headcount in the city within the next few years. The City Council essentially declared all-out war on the tech companies that have made Seattle such a Mecca for hip young people seeking cool jobs. "The city does not have a revenue problem - it has a spending efficiency problem", he said.
Given that there is hot competition from other American cities to become home to Amazon's second headquarters, this stated apprehension about the Seattle's business climate, should give Seattle's City Council pause.
Jan Gee, CEO and President of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA), said that her industry's problem is with the tax's structure. "There's no away I can afford to live in Seattle". "I would ask you to slow down and look at what the impact is beyond Amazon and to your local family-owned businesses".
John Boufford with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades said he did not understand the rhetoric against Amazon, which he noted provides good jobs for thousands of people. That approach makes sense only if the businesses that have made Seattle a thriving city are nailed to the ground.