The debate over who should pay to solve a city housing crisis exacerbated by Seattle's rapid economic growth comes after weeks of tense exchanges, raucous meetings and a threat by Amazon, the city's largest employer, to stop construction planning on a 17-story building near its hometown headquarters.
Seattle's city council voted for a new tax on large employers in the city. They called it a tax on jobs and questioned whether city officials were spending current resources effectively.
Heather Redman, a Seattle venture capitalist, took Amazon's response to the tax more seriously than Sawant.
Seattle leaders were not daunted by Amazon's strong position.
"If they can not provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction", said Kelly.
Both sides - the city, personified by socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and the corporations, represented by Jeff Bezos, the multibillionaire founder of retail giant Amazon - could claim some measure of victory in the reduced tax.
Herdener thinks that instead of increasing taxes for businesses, the city should improve its finance managing, and even called the council "anti-business". It will charge big companies $275 for every employee. In recent years, the number of homeless individuals has ballooned to more than 11,000 in King County, with the vast majority of those residing inside the city limits of Seattle. The city spent $68 million on homelessness last year and plans to spend even more this year. It's a company, after all, that paid zero dollars in federal income taxes on $5.6 billion in revenue a year ago.
But as the big Seattle companies, which are among the biggest in the USA and the world, are criticizing the legislation, supporters of the law, such as workers unions and church groups, said the tax would help the critical housing situation of the city, as the income gap increases and makes it more hard for the working class to pay rent.
Other cities have put in place similar taxes, but critics have said Seattle's tax could threaten the booming local economy and drive away jobs.
"[The city council] does not view businesses as entities driving the job growth and prosperity in Seattle", Nelson told TheDCNF.
Amazon criticized the new tax in a blistering statement from vice president Drew Herdener.
"I am quite confident that as we move forward, we can continue to have the best city anywhere for people to do business", Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference.
Mosqueda explained Wednesday that housing is becoming more and more necessary because the skyrocketing cost of housing in Seattle is causing more and more people to end up homeless.