Debate roars on as Seattle weighs business tax for housing

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council continues to hear from all sides as they weigh a proposal to tax large businesses such as Amazon to pay for housing and homeless services.

The council is considering a tax on employee-hours to raise $75 million for homeless services. Nearly 600 large employers making at least $20 million in gross revenue would pay about $500 a year per worker.

Construction workers, homeless service providers, residents and others spoke passionately at a packed City Hall Wednesday to persuade councilmembers to pass or reject the measure.

Supporters say Amazon and others that have benefited from Seattle’s prosperity and contributed to growing income inequality and soaring housing prices should pay.

Opponents call the tax misguided and say it would have harmful consequences. They want to see more accountability of money currently spent.

The council is weighing possible changes to the proposal measure this week.

The full council could vote on the measure Monday.