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Amazon, other businesses readying Seattle initiative to repeal ‘head tax’

Amazon is based in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Several businesses, including Amazon, are actively readying a potential initiative that would repeal the recently-passed Seattle head tax, according to a source who was part of the discussions.

RELATED: Rob McKenna says Seattle head tax is legal … for now

They would need just under 22,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, though time is running out to collect and validate the signatures before the deadline, to make it on this upcoming ballot.

“If you want to pay signature gatherers to put something on the ballot, it’s really late in the game,” my source warns. “I am sure [they will] do polling to make sure that 360 Strategies (sic) poll the other day is legit.”

Strategies 360, in partnership with KIRO 7, released a damning poll showing a majority of Seattleites rejected all three plans discussed by the council, including the plan that ended up passing 9-0.

The Seattle Times editorial board on Tuesday called for a citizen-lead initiative to repeal the head tax, while Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed concern that the head tax will hurt jobs.

“We’re sending a message to the rest of the country that we’re going to penalize you for creating jobs here,” State Senator Mark Mullet, a Democrat, told me on the Jason Rantz Show. “….I think the brand of Democrats is that we want to create jobs in this state and if you have a municipal body sending the opposite message you have to break ranks with them …. It only takes me 20 minutes to drive down to meetings in Seattle, but I feel like I’m some Republican from Alabama when I get there. Even though we are all Democrats, I’m like, ‘Man, how can we all be Democrats.’ They are so far left of me.”

RELATED: What happens in Seattle doesn’t stay in Seattle

Meanwhile, Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the head tax law into effect on Wednesday. It would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

“We must make urgent progress on our affordability and homelessness crisis. Looking ahead, I am focused on acting to move people off the street and into safer places, to clean up the garbage and needles that are in our parks and in our communities, and to provide resources to those people experiencing homelessness, including job training, behavioral health services, and other supportive services,” said Mayor Durkan. “I’ve heard Seattle loud and clear: they want basic services delivered and are concerned whether the City of Seattle is using their money wisely, efficiently, and responsibly. As part of the budget process, I will remain focused on accountability and transparency for every department and on how this new revenue is going to be used towards homelessness services and new affordable housing.”

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