Bezos vs Seattle: Amazon fights back

 Amazon has paused construction planning on a new downtown Seattle tower as the City Council considers a new tax on large employers 

The action is a bold political move of the kind Amazon has rarely made in Seattle and could lend weight to a big-business backlash against the proposed tax.

 A majority of the council’s nine members are backing an employee-hours tax on businesses grossing at least $20 million per year that would raise an estimated $75 million annually. They’re calling for the money from the so-called “head tax” to be spent on low-income housing and emergency services for homeless people.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which counts Amazon as a member, has come out strongly against the proposal, describing it as a “tax on jobs” by a council that can’t be trusted to spend efficiently.

The tower in question is a 17-story project dubbed Block 18.  “Pending the outcome of the head tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sub-lease all space in our recently leased Rainer Square building,” Herdener said.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, a sponsor of the tax measure, said at City Hall Wednesday, “This was an unfortunate reaction from Amazon and not at all what I would have expected.”

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