Last year, Seattle has The city council repealed a tax on big employers less than a month after approving legislation aimed at raising funds to support programs to help the homeless. This rapid reversal comes after Amazon, which employs around 45,000 people in the city, suspended the construction of a new building and threatened not to occupy the space it had rented in the future Rainier Square tower because of the tax. Now, Amazon says he will not settle in the Rainier Square tower, after all.
"We are constantly evaluating our space requirements and plan to sublet Rainier Square based on current projects," said a spokeswoman for Amazon in a statement. "We have more than 9,000 vacancies in Seattle and will continue to evaluate future growth."
The company has leased 722,000 square feet, enough for between 3,500 and 5,000 people, according to The Seattle Times, in the Rainier Square tower still under construction in the fall of 2017.
This announcement follows Amazon's decision not to open additional headquarters in New York, as a result of the negative impact of $ 3 billion in tax relief and other financial benefits expected from state governments. and local communities. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos to reconsider his decision. The New York Times reported Thursday.
Last year in Seattle, city council members initially proposed an "entry fee" of about $ 500 per employee for businesses generating an annual business turnover of 20. millions of dollars or more in the city. Amazon should have paid about $ 22.5 million a year for its 45,000 employees. The tax would have changed to become a payroll tax of 0.7% in 2021. After Amazon stopped the construction of its new building and threatened to sublet the Rainier Square space, the council Municipal has adopted a compromise halving the tax of entry and abandoned the idea of the payroll tax. fully. The city expects the revised tax to raise $ 47 million annually for homeless services and affordable housing.
After the compromise, Amazon announced that it would resume construction of the new building, but did not commit to occupy Rainier Square. At that time, a spokeswoman for Amazon said that the company was "disappointed" by the board's decision and was "very worried for the future created by the hostile approach of the board and rhetoric towards big business ".
Less than a month later, in the face of a vote to overturn the tax, the city council voted in favor of repealing it.
Tensions between Amazon and Seattle were already increasing before the tax of entry. When Amazon announced its intention to open a second head office outside of Seattle, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce's elected president, Heather Redman, then said that this should be a clear reminder for that the city changes its attitude towards society.
Amazon's critics see the company's decision not to occupy Rainier Square to prove that there is no point in accepting its demands. "Last year, @Amazon threatened to cut growth in order to prevent Seattle from taxing big business to finance social housing," said Kshama Sawant, City Council Member, Socialist Alternative member, tweeted. "Now they are executing the threats despite Republic politicians who have shamelessly repealed Amazon Tax – it's clear that giving in to corporate threats is not working."
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