As the suspense continues to build over what city Amazon will choose to host its second headquarters, the original headquarter location of Seattle is experiencing a bit of turmoil with the corporate giant. Amazon has promised at least 50,000 new jobs as well as a $5 billion investment in infrastructure as part of its package to woo cities to fight for the right to host Amazon’s HQ2. However, some cities are growing concerned as the company continues to spat with the Seattle municipal government over tax issues.
The Seattle City Council has proposed a 26-cent tax levied on each working hour for companies hauling in more than $20 million in yearly revenue. The proposal is an effort to curb the rapid increase in home prices in the area and the accompanying escalation in the homeless population. With 45,000 local employees, the brunt of this economic impact would fall on Amazon.
Amazon immediately argued the tax proposal, going so far as to threaten to pause construction on a new building currently under production in downtown Seattle. The Seattle City Council is set to vote on the proposal on Monday, and it remains to be seen how Amazon will officially react if the plan is passed. Some experts believe that Amazon is merely flexing its corporate muscles, but other government officials take exception to the company using its clout to resist the effort.
Dallas City Council member Phil Kingston believes that if his city is chosen for HQ2, Amazon should look at building a campus that encompasses not only the corporate element but also residential and retail options for its employees. Even in Seattle, where residents have greatly benefited from the bevy of Amazon job opportunities, some experts believe that a downsizing of Amazon would not necessarily mean a bad thing for the city. Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien believes that a reduction in the Amazon workforce could result in other area businesses to pick up speed and grow faster because Amazon would not be hogging all of the available talent.