Seattle repeals big-business tax after opposition from Starbucks and others

Pressure from the coffee company, Amazon and others killed the tax, which would have funded anti-homelessness initiatives.

Less than a month after it passed unanimously, a big-business tax vigorously opposed by Starbucks and others was repealed by the Seattle City Council on Tuesday.

The so-called head tax would have charged businesses making at least $20 million per year about $275 annually per full-time worker to fund affordable housing and other anti-homelessness initiatives in the city.

Starbucks and Amazon were among about 600 of Seattle’s largest businesses that would have been affected by the tax. They each paid $25,000 toward a referendum effort to repeal the tax. And Amazon temporarily stopped construction of a tower in downtown Seattle in protest, according to media reports.

The Seattle City Council voted 7-2 in favor of repealing the tax. One councilwoman who favored the tax told NPR that, given the deep pockets of the opposition, “This is not a winnable battle at this time.”

Starbucks officials did not respond to a request for comment on the repeal.

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