On 12 May 2018 protesters gathered at Seattle Central College to champion a $75 million employee head tax. The protesters also criticized Amazon for threatening to reconsider aspects of its corporate presence in Seattle should the tax pass and efforts by Mayor Jenny Durkan to reduce the tax.
This issue or fight escalated quickly. The proposal calls for additional taxes on companies with revenues exceeding $20 million. While the proposed tax doesn’t target named companies, it does correspond to calls for the area’s tech giants (Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc.) to use more of their surging revenues to mitigate the secondary effects of a steady influx of highly paid workers. For example, the proposal’s supporters, like Council Member Kshama Sawant, argue that increasing rents are pushing lower wage earners further outside the city and leading to rising homelessness. When Amazon opposed the proposed tax and indicated that it could affect its construction and staffing plans in Seattle, it may have guaranteed that the proposal would be nicknamed the Amazon Tax.
That’s a pretty general discussion of the issue. If you’d like to learn more about it, I recommend heading over to Crosscut. David Kroman has an excellent article about the proposal here. Knute Berger also discusses a hypothetical post-Amazon Seattle here.