Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant looks to tax big business to fund affordable housing

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SEATTLE - Saturday, community members packed into Washington Hall to discuss Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s plan to tax big business.

Sawant’s proposed movement called "Tax Amazon" looks to raise $200-$500 million a year by taxing the city’s top 2-3% earning businesses.

“We’re here with ordinary people in Seattle who want to fight for a city that we, working people, community members, marginalized communities can live in,” said Sawant.

The money will go toward affordable housing, specifically “social housing," which Sawant says is publicly owned, permanently affordable and energy efficient homes.

Some in Seattle see this is a great way to make change.

“There is plenty of money they {big business} could put toward this problem without hurting their bottom line,” said Maia Ayoola, who lives in Seattle.

Ayoola says a tax like the one Sawant is proposing will not impact mom and pop businesses and help combat the homelessness crisis.

However, others think this proposal will have a negative impact on the community.

“It’s well-meaning but it does not achieve the desired result,” said George Pierce a partner in a local small business. “I just don’t believe it’s a move in the right direction. You’re going to cause the greatest revenue generator in the City of Seattle to go elsewhere,” he added.

Sawant hopes to put the decision to council, or to the voting public on the November ballot.

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