Seattle City Council’s Lone Socialist Is Reintroducing Her Amazon Tax
Seattle’s Amazon tax is trying to come back. On Wednesday, the Rainy City’s lone socialist councilmember, Kshama Sawant, announced a plan for a tax on the city’s largest employers to fund affordable housing and Green New Deal–style home renovations.
“This will not only transform the lives of Seattle’s working people, it will set a historical marker for cities around the nation,” said Sawant. “It’s more than reasonable for the biggest, richest companies in our city to pay zero-point-three percent of their revenue to do their part to address our city’s crushing housing crisis.”
Her tax proposal would levy a 1.7 percent tax on the payrolls of Seattle’s 825 largest businesses. She expects this to raise $300 million a year.
This money would fund the construction of 8,000 new affordable homes and retrofit an additional 47,000 units to meet “Green New Deal” standards, which involves converting them from gas or oil to electric systems.
Grocery stores, public employers, and nonprofits would be exempted from the tax, but Seattle’s largest private employer is very much targeted by it.
“Companies here have reaped billions because Washington state has the most regressive tax system in the nation. It’s time for Amazon and other major corporations to pay their fair share,” said Sawant.
Sound familiar? It should. In 2018, the city council unanimously passed a slightly different version of the Amazon tax that applied a $275 levy on every employee at companies grossing over $20 million a year. This was predicted to raise $50 million a year.
That proposal attracted nearly unified opposition from Seattle’s business community, as well as from some labor groups, and it was repealed a month after it was passed.
Sawant vowed to bring back the Amazon tax, laying
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