The Seattle City Council voted Monday 9-0 to approve the new tax, aimed at helping the city's homeless people. But what happens now?
Seattle is taking a deep breath Tuesday after weeks of ferocious debate over a head tax on the city’s largest employers to help address homelessness.
The City Council has voted to impose the tax of $275 per employee, per year, on for-profit companies that gross at least $20 million annually, such as Amazon and Starbucks. So what happens next?
Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday she would sign the ordinance into law, and that could happen as early as this week. If Durkan were to leave the ordinance unsigned, it would still become law after 30 days.
The mayor threatened to veto a tax of $500 per employee, per year, in the lead-up to the vote, pushing council members to scale down their proposal. A veto wouldn’t kill the measure now, because the final council vote was 9-0 and six votes can override a mayor’s veto.
Seattle’s ordinance calls for the tax to take effect on Jan. 1 and continue until Dec. 31, 2023.
Companies that file their business-license taxes on a quarterly basis will file the new tax on that schedule, and companies that file their business-license taxes annually will file the new tax that way.
Along with the ordinance, the council passed a nonbinding resolution that includes a spending plan for the new tax money.
Final decisions on how to spend the revenue in 2019 will be made when the mayor and council put together a city budget this fall.
Unless a referendum on the tax is put on an earlier ballot, voters will next get to weigh in on this in 2019, when the City Council’s seven district seats will be up for election.