News & Politics

Seattle Sued Over 'Tax the Rich' Law

The conservative think tank Freedom Foundation is suing the city of Seattle over a controversial new law that targets the rich with a special tax surcharge.

The extra tax doesn’t amount to much. It’s not going to break anyone’s bank account. But, the Freedom Foundation sees a slippery slope and is suing to block the law.

Fox News:

The tax measure requires residents to pay a 2.25 percent tax if they are a single filer and make more than $250,000 annually or file jointly and make more than $500,000.

Its passage prompted a court challenge from the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank that considers the tax a slippery slope that could open the door to more taxes in the future.

The outrage over the tax even prompted the Washington Republican Party to call for “civil disobedience” and urged its members to “refuse to comply, file or pay.”

Wednesday’s suit, filed in King County Superior Court on behalf of several of the city’s residents, lays out the case against the tax.

“This is clearly bad policy and illegal, but it’s also an assault on the rule of law,” David Dewhirst, a lawyer for the Freedom Foundation, told Fox News in a statement. “If they can get away with it this time, where does it stop?”

The suit argues that Seattle’s plan to tax the rich is unconstitutional, because the state of Washington imposes strict limits on taxes; prohibits taxes on net income; and requires cities to get permission to tax residents.

“This tax ordinance’s legal and constitutional infirmities are patently obvious,” Dewhirst said.  “That’s what makes this whole thing so chilling.”

Dewhirst accused city council members of knowingly adopting “a law that can only survive if the courts abandon decades of precedent – precedent grounded in Washington’s fundamental commitment to legal equality.”

Outgoing Democratic Mayor Ed Murray says the goal of the tax “is to replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness while ensuring Seattle stands up President Trump’s austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, healthcare and social services.”

What budget cuts? Trump’s budget is not likely to pass. The mayor needn’t worry. Both sides on Capitol Hill aren’t interested in cutting much of anything from the budget.

So why soak the rich?

“We will no longer tolerate a system that buries poor and working class people in taxes, while giving big business and the super-rich yet another free ride; a system that underfunds affordable housing to the point where thousands are homeless, a system that criminally underfunds education,” Sawant said.

The richest 2% in America pay 80% of the taxes. That’s some “free ride.” And for the record, the budget for the Education Department doubled under Obama. That’s criminal – not “underfunding.”

The city expects to collect (giggle) $140 million a year. They make that claim with a straight face, despite it being a punchline for a liberal joke. They assume no rich people will pack up and go someplace where they’re not demonized for being successful. I know I would. Experience has shown they may collect half that amount and lose millions in taxes every year from people who would have paid their “fair share” but resent being targeted.

So will the courts abandon decades of precedents and the state constitution in order to allow Seattle to stick it to the rich? I’m sure they’ll find a way – or just make something up.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member