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The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a tax on big businesses to help alleviate the city's growing homelessness problem and lack of affordable housing.

"This city continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the light of hundreds of children sleeping outside", he said.

The City Council backed a compromise plan that will charge large businesses about $275 per full-time worker each year, lower than the $500 per worker initially proposed.

"We have community members who are dying", Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda told The Seattle Times before the vote.

Republican State Senator Mark Schoesler says he will be taking action against the tax, introducing legislation that says it is an unauthorized tax unless approved by legislature, which "reinforces current law". The so-called "head tax" would raise roughly $48 million a year to build new affordable housing units and provide emergency homeless services.

Starbucks executive John Kelly said that the city has failed to adequately address the needs of homeless families and "no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction" in a statement Monday. The head tax is the largest in USA history.

Almost 600 large employers making at least $20 million in gross revenue would pay the tax that would begin in 2019.

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The tax that was passed Monday was actually a compromise negotiated between Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez and Mayor Jenny Durkan over the weekend. With more than 40,000 employees and counting, Amazon is at the center of the conversation and the explicit target of Sawant, who has called the proposal "Tax Amazon Legislation". The e-commerce giant paused construction on one of its office towers and said it is reconsidering occupying another. The Seattle region had the third-highest number of homeless people in the US and saw 169 homeless deaths in 2017.

The tax is expected to be borne by about 500 companies, accounting for 3 percent of the city's private sector. King County, which includes Seattle, recorded a record 169 homeless deaths previous year. The report states it would take "between $360 million and $410 million a year to tackle current levels of homelessness-that's twice today's spending".

Even though the company chose to resume one of its building projects, Drew Herdener, an Amazon vice president, said in a statement, "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".

In a statement, Drew Herdener, an Amazon vice president, said Amazon was "disappointed" in the vote and remains "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".

Proponents of the head tax say companies such as Amazon have contributed to homelessness because their highly-paid employees have driven up rents and home prices.

Before the vote, she said the city "has an obligation to take care of the people who are surviving and suffering on our city streets".


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