“Nevermind.” That was essentially what a majority of Seattle’s city council said on Tuesday when they voted 7-to-2 to repeal a tax on the city’s largest employers. The vote came less than a month after the council unanimously approved the measure, intended to raise money to combat the city’s dire affordable housing and homelessness problems. The annual tax of $275 per employee was fiercely opposed by Amazon, Seattle’s largest employer, which halted some of its expansion plans in the city as the earlier council vote loomed.
The council’s head-spinning reversal on the tax occurred after a broad outcry from Seattle’s business community and from many voters, who were frustrated with the city’s management of the homeless crisis in the past. As the vote was tallied, supporters of the original measure protested in the council’s chambers. “Jeff Bezos is our enemy!” Kshama Sawant, one of the council members who voted against the repeal, said to the crowd.