Seattle Poised To Repeal Business ‘Head-Tax’ -For Having Employees

Eric Scheiner | June 12, 2018
Font Size

It was about a month ago that Seattle’s City Council voted unanimously to tax businesses on how many employees they have, but now the “head tax” is being repealed.

To help address homelessness in the region, Seattle decided to enact a business tax of $275 per employee, per year. The tax was to be enacted on companies that gross more than $20 million a year.

I guess punishing companies for hiring a lot of people seemed like a good idea at the time.

Amazon, Starbucks, and other businesses had sharply criticized the tax, and Amazon even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest of the measure.

Seattle city leaders announced Monday that they plan to hold a meeting and move to scrap the tax that was projected to generate over $47 million a year.

Council President Bruce Harrell told KING-TV “I think what’s happened since we passed it, is we continue to listen. I think what people are saying is they would like us to reset the button. To look at not only our investment strategy but whether a tax on jobs makes sense.”

Yeah, take look at it. It doesn’t.

The council was also getting ready to take a good, hard, look at the thousands of signatures Amazon and other business groups had gathered for a referendum challenging the new tax

They had planned to submit those signatures on Tuesday in an effort to get a repeal measure placed on the ballot. 

With Seattle lawmakers reportedly poised to repeal the “head tax” now on their own, the delivery of the petition is unnecessary.

What Amazon and other businesses did manage to deliver was a message, that punishing businesses for actually hiring people in your region is not a way for cities to get a“head.”

mrc merch