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Seattle's tax on Amazon to help homeless may fall short, locals say

Seattle's tax on Amazon to help homeless may fall short, locals say

Seattle is imposing a new tax on big business to help combat growing crises with affordable housing and homelessness, but advocates and residents worry the new funds will not be enough.

The City Council unanimously approved a tax on Monday on Amazon.com, the city's largest employer, and other large companies on grounds that they have fueled an economic boom that has driven up real estate costs.

About 1,000 people move to the area every week, according to U.S. Census data, putting it among the nation's fastest growing cities.

Median rents have doubled since 2010, according to real estate firm Zillow, and the area has the third highest homeless population in the nation, according to U.S. government statistics.

Local counts estimate the number of homeless at nearly 12,000 people.

The tax will raise roughly $47 million a year for affordable housing and emergency services such as shelter beds.

The hotly debated measure was a compromise after a city-appointed task force recommended a levy raising $75 million a year instead. Advocates fear the compromise is insufficient.

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