Wednesday, 16 May 2018 10:20

Amazon, Starbucks Furious After Seattle Passes Controversial "Homeless Tax"

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Update: Amazon is not alone in its anger at Seattle's plans. Starbucks took a moment away from signaling its virtue and lashed out at the city's new tax. John Kelly, senior vice president, Global Public Affairs & Social Impact at Starbucks, said in a statement.

"This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside.

If they cannot 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 City pays more attention to the desires of the owners of illegally parked RVs than families seeking emergency shelter."

Ouch! How long before we hear a new round of boycott starbucks?

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Despite Amazon's decision to halt construction on a new tower and threats to sublease space in another newly built downtown skyscraper, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City Council have passed a controversial "homelessness tax" that will require the city's largest companies to pay an additional $300 a year per full time employee based in the city.


And while the law has been significantly watered down from the version introduced last month by the city council, Jeff Bezos still isn't happy about it.

To wit, the company said in an official statement that it's still "apprehensive" about expanding the number of employees it has based in the city, as Fortune reports.

"We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs," Amazon said in a statement. "While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here."

Amazon has resumed construction on its 17-storey Block 18 tower, but we imagine the company now has even more incentive to shift employees to its planned HQ2, though, as CNNMoney warned in a recent piece, Amazon's strident reaction to the proposed tax in Seattle might give some of its suitor city's reason to reconsider (as foolish as that might seem from an economic development perspective).

The law will require employers who generate more than $20 million in gross revenues within the city limits to pay roughly 14 cents per man hour per employee every year - which comes out to roughly $275 per employee. Roughly half of the money collected by the tax will be paid by Amazon.

So, at the end of April, the Seattle City Council released draft legislation that would force companies with revenues of over $20 million in the city to pay 26 cents for each hour worked by a Seattle-based employee, or roughly $540 per head per...

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