Sawant announces plan to return the Seattle business head tax

Jan 8, 2020
Written by wpengine

Some six months after the Seattle City Council abruptly repealed a tax on big businesses, newly-re-elected councilwoman Kshama Sawant has announced she will try to reimpose the tax in 2020.

There’s a possible new twist to the issue. Unlike 2019, when the council initially approved the so-called head tax without a public vote, Sawant has acknowledged any new proposal may wind up going to voters to decide.

The 2019 proposal, in short, would have charged large businesses $275 per employee, per year, to fund housing and services for the homeless. Due to strong opposition from businesses including Seattle-based Amazon, last year’s council repealed the ordinance less than a month after it unanimously approved it. Meanwhile, Seattle voters re-elected a progressive council last November despite challenges from candidates supported by the business community.

Sawant has scheduled a January 13 swearing-in ceremony and the launch of the Tax Amazon 2020 campaign as part of her renewed effort to impose a new tax on business. Her plans were announced in online articles here and here.

Washington Retail will be closely monitoring the council and report follow up developments as they occur.