The city of Seattle has enjoyed a long period of economic boom time thanks to the presence of huge companies like Amazon and Starbucks. However, the city also seen increased homelessness and a housing shortage during that time. The Seattle City Council, in an effort to use the economic boom to begin fixing those two glaring problems, might levy a tax on the city’s biggest businesses.
Although the tax would only apply to about 3% of Seattle’s employers, those companies that do pay (Amazon is expected to be on the hook for $20 million because of the tax) will certainly feel the effect:
The proposed tax amounts to 26 cents per working hour per employee in Seattle. That works out to roughly $540 a year for every full-time employee.
Only businesses that generate at least $20 million of annual revenue in Seattle itself would be subject to the tax.
All told, the new tax would reportedly raise around $75 million per year, which would be spent on increasing shelter services for the homeless as well as funding affordable housing. In addition, Amazon plans to place a permanent shelter for the homeless within one of its office buildings and has already been allowing a nonprofit called Mary’s Place to use two of its unoccupied Amazon buildings as shelters.
According to Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold while speaking with CNN, the hope is that such a progressive tax on the city’s largest employers will hopefully have less of a detrimental effect than an increased sales or property tax that would burden all residents more equally.