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Seattle businesses prepare head tax opposition letter

Seattle Councilmember Mike O'Brien proposed a new business tax on Seattle's biggest companies recently. (Seattle Channel)

A letter opposing a proposed head tax on businesses will be delivered to the Seattle City Council Monday.

We’re talkin’ 30 years people

More than 80 businesses signed the letter against the tax, which taxes companies to raise money for homeless programs.

Dicks Drive-In owner Jim Spady and restaurateur Tom Douglas are among the business owners who signed the letter.

The head of the Millionair Club Charity, which helps the homeless find work, also signed it.

Those signing the letter say the homeless problem won’t be solved by a hastily developed proposal to tax the very businesses creating job opportunities in Seattle. They also say recent actions have already increased the cost of doing business in Seattle, leading to lower profits and higher costs for customers.

Council members Mike O’Brien and Kirsten Harris-Talley proposed a head tax for approximately 2,200 businesses with gross receipts of a value of at least $5 million per year. They say a business would pay an additional five cents an hour per employee to help “alleviate Seattle’s homelessness crisis.”

The two proposed the tax during the city’s budget process. If approved, the tax would have an effective date of early 2019. It would raise between $20 million and $25 million each year, according to O’Brien.

Last week, Councilmember Kshama Sawant argued that businesses such as Amazon could easily afford a $100-per-employee tax. She wants to see the proposed tax doubled.

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