May 15, 2018 / 12:01 AM / 2 months ago

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

SEATTLE, May 14 (Reuters) - Seattle’s city council on Monday voted to impose a new “head tax” on the city’s biggest companies, including Amazon.com, as a way of fighting a housing crisis sponsors attribute largely to a local economic boom driving up real estate costs.

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, 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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