The head tax is a $275 tax per employee for larger companies with more than $20 million in annual revenue. Seattle’s new tax will raise $45 million to $49 million each year from employers, and the money will be used to fight homelessness in the city, reports GeekWire. While the $275 figure is almost half the originally proposed tax of $500 per employee, it still means Amazon will face an extra yearly tax bill of $11 million in the city.
Last week in the run-up to the vote on the new head tax, Amazon announced it was reconsidering its plans for a new office building in downtown Seattle’s Block 18 until it was known whether the city would pass the new head tax. After it was passed, Amazon confirmed it was going ahead with Block 18 construction, but in a statement it got a bit passive-aggressive and vaguely threatening about its future plans in its fast-changing hometown:
We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs. 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. City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8B in 2010 to $4.2B in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018. This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem–it has a spending efficiency problem. We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.