Seattle City Council backs new tax on largest companies, including Amazon

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Seattle’s city council on Monday voted to impose a new “head tax” on the city’s biggest companies, including, as a way of fighting a housing crisis sponsors attribute largely to a local economic boom driving up real estate costs.

The logo of Amazon is seen on a building in San Jose, Costa Rica March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

The measure, passed on a 9-0 vote after a boisterous public hearing, represented a scaled-back compromise that would raise roughly $47 million a year over five years — down from $75 million annually as a council committee approved last week – to support affordable housing and services for the homeless.

Amazon (AMZN.O), the city’s largest employer, had led private-sector opposition to the plan, saying it was freezing expansion planning for Seattle pending the outcome of Monday’s action.

Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles

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