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Seattle just killed the 'Amazon tax' it passed four weeks ago

Seattle's controversial new "Amazon tax" was repealed Tuesday, a mere month after the City Council passed it unanimou...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 9:32 AM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 9:32 AM

Seattle's controversial new "Amazon tax" was repealed Tuesday, a mere month after the City Council passed it unanimously.

It was killed in response to public pressure from No Tax on Jobs, a business-backed referendum campaign.

The campaign has already collected more than twice the number of signatures required to let voters decide on the November ballot whether to reject the tax, according to Tim Ceis, a general consultant to the campaign.

Several City Council members who had supported the so-called head tax nevertheless voted to repeal it because, as one said, "We don't have the time or resources to change enough minds to be successful at the polls in November."

Progressives portrayed the repeal as a "capitulation" to big business interests.

Amazon, Starbucks and the Northwest Grocery Association are among the biggest backers of the campaign.

Related: Will these California cities impose a 'Google tax' or an 'Apple tax'?

The tax, which had been scheduled to take effect in January 2019, amounted to $275 a year per full-time employee of the highest grossing businesses in Seattle. It would have raised roughly $47 million a year on average and expired after five years.

The revenue was intended to help fight the city's homelessness and affordable housing problems. Seattle's lack of an income tax narrows the city council's options in terms of how to raise money for public policy efforts.

There is as yet no replacement proposal on the table for how to fund the building of more permanent housing that the city needs.

During the council's special public meeting, the actual vote to repeal was nearly drowned out by loud chants of "We are ready to fight. Housing is a human right!" and "Stop the repeal!" by groups who fought for the head tax for months.

Organizers of the referendum campaign argue that the city already spends a lot of money on homelessness with few positive results. Their preference is for Seattle to join with other cities in King County, Washington, to combat the problem and to reform the existing system of how services are provided, Ceis said.

In the wake of Seattle's original passage of its head tax, a number of cities in Silicon Valley have been contemplating head taxes of their own to combat traffic congestion and other transportation problems that have arisen as the tech sector dominating the area has grown.

It's not immediately clear if the sudden repeal will dampen those efforts.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10249104
Hinds10095199
Harrison7173111
Jackson6440124
Rankin5705103
Lee517095
Madison4902107
Forrest385986
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Tate175351
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Leake138344
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Tallahatchie97427
Clarke92453
Clay92327
Jasper83522
Stone78515
Calhoun77713
Walthall76929
Montgomery75425
Carroll73815
Lawrence72614
Smith72116
Yalobusha72028
Noxubee71917
Perry67726
Tunica61819
Greene60822
Claiborne58816
Jefferson Davis57817
Amite55214
Humphreys54319
Benton49618
Quitman4947
Webster45014
Kemper44218
Wilkinson40122
Jefferson35711
Franklin3485
Choctaw3457
Sharkey31717
Issaquena1174
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 247229

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32718500
Mobile19904362
Madison13425148
Tuscaloosa13167154
Montgomery12380236
Shelby1046577
Baldwin882098
Lee778566
Morgan675150
Calhoun6366121
Etowah635166
Marshall630955
Houston532338
DeKalb489736
Cullman447442
Limestone430245
St. Clair425755
Lauderdale413354
Elmore409464
Walker3689111
Talladega353554
Jackson327123
Colbert314642
Blount294640
Autauga275142
Franklin254233
Coffee246515
Dale234454
Dallas226532
Chilton225038
Russell22313
Covington220334
Escambia198631
Chambers177250
Tallapoosa177091
Pike159214
Clarke158919
Marion141336
Winston134423
Lawrence129636
Pickens124218
Geneva12378
Marengo122524
Bibb118817
Barbour117511
Butler117342
Randolph103821
Cherokee102924
Hale97731
Fayette92216
Clay92024
Washington91619
Henry8676
Lowndes79929
Monroe79011
Cleburne77414
Macon74522
Crenshaw71230
Bullock70019
Perry6896
Conecuh68514
Lamar6838
Wilcox63918
Sumter58422
Greene42718
Choctaw42613
Coosa3464
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