A tax on large companies such as Amazon that was meant to fight a growing homelessness crisis got rolled back during a raucous Seattle City Council meeting that exposed divisions over how much companies that have fueled booming economies should help pay to alleviate the downsides of success.
A divided crowd chanted, jeered and booed at the meeting, drowning out city leaders as they cast a 7-2 vote Tuesday. People shouted, "Stop the repeal," as others unfurled a large red banner that read, "Tax Amazon." An opposing group held "No tax on jobs" signs.
The vote showed Amazon's ability to aggressively push back on government taxes, especially in its affluent hometown where it's the largest employer with more than 45,000 workers and where it has been criticized for contributing to a widening income gap.
It remains to be seen whether Seattle's retreat will have a chilling effect on other cities considering taxes on big tech companies to help mitigate the effects of growth.
The City Council in Mountain View, California, where Google is based, will vote June 26 on whether to put a similar measure before voters in November. The "Google tax," which has unanimous support from the council, aims to alleviate transportation woes and high housing costs in the Silicon Valley city south of San Francisco.
Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel said Seattle's about-face hasn't changed his support for the tax, the details of which the council and city administrators have been working on for several months.
AirTalk looks at whether the Seattle vote will impact other cities considering a similar measure.
With files from the Associated Press
Lenny Siegel, mayor of the City of Mountain View, who has proposed the so-called “Google tax” in his city