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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and city council members on Monday said they would consider legislation to repeal a “head tax” on the city’s large businesses, just weeks after the measure’s passage drew public criticism from Amazon, Starbucks and others.
Backed by Durkan and seven of the nine members of the Seattle City Council, the repeal effort is underway despite the tax’s unanimous passage on May 14. The approved version of Seattle’s “head tax” had called for large employers to contribute $275 per employee annually in an effort to raise roughly $50 million per year toward efforts to address Seattle’s growing homelessness crisis through affordable housing and outreach efforts.
“It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis,” Durkan and the council members said in a statement. “These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region.”
Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell is set to sponsor the repeal legislation at a special meeting on Tuesday. The council’s members are also expected to hold a vote at the meeting.
Prior to the announcement, “head tax” opponents, including local business leaders, were scheduled to submit a petition calling for a referendum on the measure on Tuesday.
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