DENVER — Seattle’s city council passed a head tax on large corporations to provide more funding for affordable housing, and while experts said it’s a glimpse into the future for whatever city receives Amazon’s second headquarters, supporters of the Denver proposal said affordable housing needs to be invested in, regardless of where the tech giant decides to set up shop.
On Monday, Seattle’s city council approved the head tax on large corporations — $275 per full time employee per year. The city is struggling with affordable housing as more tech giants and large corporations grow in Seattle. Big corporations like Amazon and Starbucks are not pleased with the new tax.
Experts said anyone in the race for Amazon’s HQ2 should be closely watching Seattle and it’s struggle with affordable housing.
Denver is currently in Amazon’s top 20 list for HQ2. J. J. Ament is the CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the group that crafted the proposal to convince Amazon to move to Denver.
Ament said regardless of whether Amazon chooses Denver or not, the city needs to make investments in affordable housing.
"Make no mistake, we need to make those investments whether they come here or not. And actually, the benefit of this kind of economic growth, it provides the resources we need to address those issues," said Ament.
Ament said businesses look at the whole package when deciding whether or not to come to Denver — the quality of the work force, transportation, housing and education. Ament said for Denver to continue to draw in great companies, it needs to maintain a healthy rental and housing market.
"They do look. Do we have places for people to live and can people throughout our organization afford a good home? Are there good schools?"
Ament said his organization has not received any new updates from Amazon about whether it’s ready to make a decision on HQ2’s location.