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Seattle leaders said Monday that they plan to repeal a tax on large companies like Amazon and Starbucks as they face mounting pressure from businesses, an about-face just a month after unanimously approving the measure to help pay for efforts to combat a growing homelessness crisis.
The quick surrender showed the power of Amazon to help rally opposition and aggressively push back on taxes at all levels of government, even in its affluent home city where the income gap is ever widening and lower-income workers are being priced out of housing. It has resulted in one of the highest homelessness rates in the U.S.
Coalition - Businesses - Referendum - November - Ballot
A coalition of businesses is working to get a referendum on the November ballot to overturn the tax.
Mayor Jenny Durkan and seven of nine City Council members said they worked with a range of groups to pass a measure last month that would strike a balance between protecting jobs and supporting affordable housing.
Ordinance - Fight - Months - Nothing - Housing
But "it is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis," they said in a statement.
"We heard you," they added, noting that they would move forward to repeal the so-called head tax. A special council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, where a vote is expected. They didn't provide a backup funding plan.
Amazon - Businesses - Tax - Online - Retailer
Amazon and other businesses had sharply criticized the tax, and the online retailer even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters ahead of the vote.
It marks the latest Amazon move against city, state and national taxes.
Company - Australians - Purchases - Websites - Nation
The company recently said it would block Australians from purchases on its international websites after the nation planned to impose a 10 percent consumption tax on online retailers for goods shipped to Australia.
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