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Seattle businesses rally against Sawant Amazon tax

The push for an Amazon tax renews again in 2020. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson,File)

The Seattle City Council may be meeting virtually today, but it can expect a bunch of public comments filed from home, as thousands line up to oppose a proposed tax on big businesses.

The city budget committee will hear Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s latest attempt to levy a tax on big businesses. Her proposal would tax about 800 Seattle companies with payrolls of $7 million or more.

Sawant wants to use the estimated $500 million in yearly new tax revenue for a variety of programs like housing, homelessness, and a Green New Deal. She’s now also pushing it as a way to pay for coronavirus response.

But James Sido with the Downtown Seattle Association says this is the last thing our economy needs.

“We’re looking to send a message to Councilmember Sawant and those that would favor a tax on jobs that this is a bad idea,” he said. “It makes zero sense to even entertain the possibility of a jobs tax with near historic unemployment and a deep recession.”

The Downtown Seattle Association will be delivering a virtual letter to the council and an online petition signed by nearly 6,000 others, asking the council to drop the idea. If approved, this tax on 800 Seattle business would go into effect in June, but it wouldn’t start being collected until 2022.

If it fails in the council, Sawant is also working on a ballot initiative for the November ballot.

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