Now Amazon Is Nixing a Seattle Expansion, Too

Last yr, Seattle’s metropolis council repealed a tax on massive employers lower than a month after approving the laws designed to boost funds to assist homeless applications. The fast reversal got here after Amazon, which employs round 45,000 folks within the metropolis, halted the development of a brand new constructing and threatened to not occupy house it had leased within the deliberate Rainier Square tower due to the tax. Now Amazon says it received’t transfer into the Rainier Square tower in any case.

“We are always evaluating our space requirements and intend to sublease Rainier Square based on current plans,” an Amazon spokesperson mentioned in a press release. “We have more than 9,000 open roles in Seattle and will continue to evaluate future growth.”

The firm leased 722,000 sq. ft, sufficient for between 3,500 and 5,000 folks, in response to The Seattle Times, within the still-under-construction Rainier Square tower in fall 2017.

The announcement follows Amazon’s determination to not open an extra headquarters in New York City following backlash over the $Three billion in tax breaks and different incentives the corporate was anticipated to obtain from state and native governments. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has appealed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to rethink, The New York Times reported Thursday.

In Seattle, members of town council final yr initially proposed a “head tax” of roughly $500 per worker on firms with annual income within the metropolis of $20 million or extra. Amazon would have needed to pay round $22.5 million per yr for its 45,000 staff. The tax would have modified to a 0.7 % payroll tax in 2021. After Amazon halted development on its new constructing and threatened to sublease the Rainier Square house, town council handed a compromise that minimize the pinnacle tax in half and ditched the payroll tax concept totally. The metropolis anticipated the revised tax to boost $47 million a yr for companies for the homeless and development of inexpensive housing.

After the compromise, Amazon introduced it might resume development of the brand new constructing, however did not decide to occupying Rainier Square. At the time, an Amazon spokesperson mentioned the corporate was “disappointed” by the council’s determination and was “very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses.”

Less than a month later, dealing with a poll initiative to overturn the tax, town council voted to repeal it.

Tensions between Amazon and Seattle have been already rising earlier than the pinnacle tax. When Amazon introduced its plans to open a second headquarters outdoors of Seattle, then Seattle Chamber of Commerce chair-elect Heather Redman mentioned it needs to be a wake-up name for town to vary its angle towards the corporate.

But Amazon’s critics see the corporate’s determination to not occupy Rainier Square as proof that there is not any level in acquiescing to its calls for. “Last year @Amazon threatened to scale down growth to bully Seattle from taxing big biz to fund social housing,” metropolis council member Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative, tweeted. “Now they’re carrying out the threats despite Dem politicians (shamefully) repealing Amazon Tax. Clearly, caving to corporate threats doesn’t work.”

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