“Amazon is pausing the unprecedented spree of headquarters construction that transformed the city of Seattle over the last decade, suspending plans to add 7,000 to 8,000 jobs in 1 million square feet of new office space,” Brier Dudley reports for The Seattle Times. “The company informed architects and developers Tuesday that pending the outcome of a City Council vote on a new head tax, it is pausing construction of a 17-story tower and may sublease rather than occupy a skyscraper under construction at Rainier Square.”
“The company will also announce this year the location of its second headquarters elsewhere in North America. That project is partly intended to give the company options to expand in a more receptive community than Seattle, where the company has lost patience with a City Hall that’s increasingly hostile to large employers and Amazon in particular,” Dudley reports. “‘I can confirm that 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 sublease all space in our recently leased Rainier Square building,’ Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement this morning.”
“Amazon and much of the Seattle business community is strongly opposed to the City Council’s proposal to impose a per-employee tax of $500 per year. It would convert to a payroll tax in 2021 that would generate more than $75 million per year,” Dudley reports. “The tax is proposed as a way to make the city’s taxation more progressive, although business now pays about 60 percent of the city’s taxes and there are no proposals to reduce any of the city’s regressive taxes.”
“Council members could finalize the tax as soon as May 14,” Dudley reports. “A recent public hearing on the topic was rowdy, dominated by social-service providers, activists and others demanding the city ‘tax the rich’ and spend even more on social services.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Good for Amazon. Seattle politicians may be poised to learn some valuable lessons about supply and demand, who pays what and for what, what’s important and what isn’t, how much is too much, ripple effects, unintended consequences, and more. Or not. We’ll see.
Apple is certainly closely watching the Seattle City Council’s per-employee tax proposal as well.
Apple again expands downtown Seattle engineering center – April 17, 2018
Apple rumored to be taking big piece of Seattle-area office market in expansion – August 12, 2016
Apple buys machine-learning startup Turi for $200 million – August 6, 2016
Apple quietly buys Seattle firm to expand cloud offerings – November 4, 2014