Sawant blasts Seattle council's 'shameless capitulation' on head tax

Kshama Sawant speaks ahead of a City Council meeting on repealing the controversial head tax. (KOMO News photo)

SEATTLE - Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council's outspoken socialist member, blasted other members of the council for their "shameless capitulation to Amazon" and "betrayal of working people" ahead of the vote to repeal the city's controversial "head tax" on big businesses.

At a 11 a.m. rally, Sawant said council members are preparing to overturn activists' "hard-won victory" to tax Seattle's largest businesses to raise money for affordable housing and other initiatives to fight the city's homelessness emergency.

"Thousands of people are homeless and many have died this year already," Sawant said. "This didn't happen in a day or a year. The City Council has presided over (this developing crisis) for decades."

Council President Bruce Harrell sponsored the legislation at a special noon meeting Tuesday to repeal the employee hours tax, which would have cost Amazon and other large companies about $275 per employee, per year, for the next five years to fund a $48 million response to Seattle's growing homelessness crisis.

The City Council passed the measure less than a month ago, but fierce opposition to the tax led city leaders to rethink that approach. Mayor Jenny Durkan conceded Monday that the uproar over the head tax would would lead to a "prolonged, expensive political fight ... that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis."

POLL: Are you confident the council will find a new plan to fix the homeless crisis? Answer the poll below or click here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off