'Amazon has threatened to move jobs out of its hometown of Seattle after the city council introduced a new tax to try and address the homelessness crisis.
The world’s second-biggest company has warned that the “hostile” tax, which will charge firms $275 per worker a year to fund homelessness outreach services and affordable housing, “forces us to question our growth here”.
Amazon, which is Seattle’s biggest private sector employer with more than 40,000 staff in the city, had halted construction work on a 17-storey office tower in protest against the tax.
Pressure from Amazon and other big employers, including Starbucks and Expedia, had forced councillors to reduce the tax from an initial proposal of $500 per worker. The tax will only effect companies making revenue of more than $20m-a-year.
The tax is expected to raise between $45m and $49m a year, of which about $10m would come from Amazon.
The company said it would restart building work on the tower but may sublease another new office block to reduce its tax bill.
“We are disappointed by today’s city Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” said Drew Herdener, an Amazon vice-president. We remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.”
Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is the world’s richest man with a $133bn fortune.'
Read more: Amazon threatens to move jobs out of Seattle over new tax to help the homeless
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