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It sunsets in 2023. About 60 percent of the revenue will go to creating deeply affordable housing, and about 40 percent for homeless services, with an emphasis on programs that get people into emergency and temporary housing.

Seattle City Council voted unanimously for the tax, saying it will raise $47m (£35m) to tackle a housing affordability crisis due to a recent economic boom.

The hotly debated measure was a compromise after a city-appointed task force recommended a levy raising $75 million a year instead. The tax will provide additional revenue.

The lower tax was the result of feverish negotiations over the weekend between members of the City Council and Seattle's mayor, Jenny Durkan, who had opposed the council's earlier tax proposal.

Speculation that Seattle's new head tax could be a boon for neighboring cities has been swirling since before the City Council approved the controversial legislation Monday afternoon. However, Councillors have faced opposition from local firms who say that the tax will hurt their businesses. "They are dying on our streets today because there is not enough shelter" and affordable housing.

"There is no way this tax will be a burden on big business in Seattle", she said before the vote. Thanks to politicians' sympathetic ear when it comes to the plight of the rich, Amazon will pocket an estimated $789 million this year, easily offsetting the $10 million it'll pay Seattle to improve the city it calls home.

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez responded that she was "equally disappointed" with Amazon's reaction to the council's vote and said she thinks "their tone in this message that is clearly hostile toward the city council is not what I expect from a business who continues to tell us that they want to be a partner on these issues".

"When we start talking about changing that system that benefits some to make it more fair, there's a lot of resistance", Councilmember Mike O'Brien said during Monday's meeting.

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The tax is expected to be borne by about 500 companies, accounting for 3 percent of the city's private sector.

The original proposal was almost twice that, but was amended as a compromise measure after local businesses protested.

Businesses, including Amazon and Starbucks, criticized the vote.

Of Seattle's largest employers - a group that includes Nintendo, Microsoft, and Expedia - two stand to be hit the hardest: Amazon and Starbucks.

"Make no mistake", Sawant said, "money is power under capitalism".

Head taxes are extremely rare in the US and the ones in place are a fraction of Seattle's proposal.

Meanwhile, Schoesler says state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has been "strangely silent" on the topic. Those businesses, such as Amazon, would pay 26 cents per hour, per employee working in the city, which equates to about $500 per worker.

Councilwoman Sawant talks a lot about union labor, but in this case, many rank-and-file union members are against the head tax because their jobs (building the new skyscrapers Amazon will inhabit) are dependent on the company staying in the city.


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