New Tax Law Repealed by Seattle After Pressure By Businesses Including Amazon

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On Tuesday, the city officials of Seattle voted to repeal a new tax measure on huge firms after the intensifying pressure from Amazon and some other local businesses.

While sitting in front of a rowdy crowd, including the many people who opposed the said repeal, the Council members of Seattle City voted 7 to 2 in favor of overturning the law, which was passed just four weeks ago.

The so-called head tax is designed to help fund the effort of the city to solve its problem of homelessness. It would have charged firm with over $20 million in annual revenue which is $275 per full-time employee each year. The city was anticipating to raise around $48 million per year through the said new tax measure.

Some of the largest companies that are based in Seattle, including Starbucks and Amazon, distinctly criticized the law and established a coalition to launch the No Tax On Jobs campaign that would have placed a repeal referendum on the ballot that is scheduled this November.

Amazon temporarily halted the construction of an office building in downtown Seattle as a protest to the decision. Last month, over 100 local businesses signed an open letter to oppose the new law.

According to the Associated Press, through its spokesperson, the coalition said that it is glad to see that the “Seattle City Council has heard the voices of the people loud and clear and are now reconsidering this ill-conceived tax.”

Last Monday, Jenny Durkan, the Mayor of Seattle, issued a statement acknowledging the decision of the city to repeal the proposal on head tax.

In a statement, Durkan stated: “It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis.”

She added: “We heard you.”

The said controversy is the latest tussle of Amazon against tax policies of the state and the government.

Amazon is in a tax dispute with various states, including South Carolina, over how to charge sales tax on products that are sold by third-party sellers on its marketplace. Last May, Amazon also said that it would stop shoppers in Australia from purchasing from its international sites after the country said that it would impose a tax on products that were shipped into the country.

And then there is the plan of Amazon for its second headquarters, which has started a bidding war from states and cities that are offering incentives and tax breaks to win the said bid.