Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Inc. and founder of Blue Origin LLC, smiles while speaking at the unveiling of the Blue Origin New Shepard system during the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 5, 2017.

Amazon Threatens Seattle Over New Tax to Help the Homeless

Amazon has suspended a part of its enlargement plans in Seattle, pending the consequence of a City Council vote on a brand new tax on massive employers that might fund applications aimed toward offering reasonably priced housing and serving to the homeless.

The firm, which already employs greater than 40,000 individuals in Seattle, has been planning a brand new 17-storey workplace tower that might home not less than 7,000 new staff. But now the challenge is on maintain, and Amazon is even threatening to sublease out all the area it’s leased in one other constructing that’s already below development.

It’s a daring political transfer on the a part of Amazon, one in all the largest employers in Seattle. However, it’s additionally not an incredible look for an organization whose hovering earnings simply made CEO Jeff Bezos $12 billion richer in one day. Bezos, the world’s richest man, subsequently mentioned the solely method he might consider spending his huge fortune was to convert it into space travel.

Seattle’s City Council on Friday released new draft laws that might tax massive employers so as to increase $75 million subsequent 12 months to counter the results of rising rents and home costs.

“Seattle is a city of great prosperity that has experienced tremendous growth of its economy and population,” the draft learn. “However, this growth and prosperity has directly contributed to the rapid increase in the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.”

The metropolis’s homeless are dying in ever larger numbers—169 last year, up by 32 from 2016.

Under the proposal, corporations pulling in additional than $20 million a 12 months in the metropolis would have to pay 26 cents for every hour labored by a neighborhood worker. This head tax would apply subsequent 12 months and in 2020, after which it might get replaced by a zero.7% payroll tax.

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce, whose members embody large employers like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing, opposes the measure as a result of it’s not assured the Council would “use new revenue wisely.”

“I can confirm that pending the outcome of the head-tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sublease all space in our recently leased Rainier Square building,” Amazon VP Drew Herdener told the Seattle Times.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan instructed the Seattle Times that she was “deeply concerned about the impact this decision will have on a large range of jobs—from our building trades, to restaurant workers, to nurses, manufacturing jobs and tech workers.”

However, she added: “At the same time, our city must urgently address our homelessness and affordability crisis and lift up those who have been left behind. I fundamentally believe we can do both by working together.”

Amazon is in the means of increasing in different areas, having just lately introduced three,000 new jobs in Vancouver and 1,000 in Boston. It can be on the hunt for an additional North American metropolis to host its “HQ2″—a second headquarters, that might give it much more leverage over the phrases provided to it in the metropolis the place it began.

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