Seattle City Council to vote on big tax on big business

A divided Seattle City Council is expected to vote Monday on a proposal to tax large businesses to fight homelessness.

The plan that advanced out of committee on a 5-4 vote Friday would tax large businesses such as Amazon and Starbucks about $500 a year per worker. It would raise about $75 million a year for homeless services and affordable housing. But Mayor Jenny Durkan and four other councilmembers support a smaller tax proposal that would charge about $250 a year per worker and raise $40 million a year.

Bill sponsors need five votes to pass the measure but six votes to override a mayoral veto.

The so-called “head tax” has been hotly debated in recent weeks at raucous meetings and rallies.

Amazon raised the stakes when it announced it would halt construction planning on a 17-story tower near its hometown headquarters pending the outcome of the tax vote.