Amazon has halted plans to house 7,000 employees in a shiny new high rise in Seattle, Washington, after the city approved a plan to tax companies earning more than $20 million annually.
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce approved the plan to tax corporations like Amazon and Starbucks $275 per employee. The money will be used to build housing units for the homeless.
Amazon opposed the tax and vowed to pull out of Seattle if the plan went through. The online retailing giant will continue construction on the skyscraper, but it will rent out the space rather than occupy it.
Amazon’s stock price slipped to $1566 per share — down from $1601 at the close of day Monday. The price rebounded to $1570 per share by 11 a.m.
Seattle says it will use the money to build 591 housing units for the homeless.
But critics argue that $100 million already collected by the council was spent on research and surveys. No new housing units were built.
Seattle has 11,000 people living on the streets. That number is expected to rise as word of the free housing gets around the country.