A King County Superior Court judge ruled that Seattle’s new tax on wealthy individuals is illegal because it violates a state law that prevents taxing net income.
The city vowed to appeal the decision.
City Attorney Pete Holmes called the decision “disappointing” but, in a joint statement with Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess, said their goal to eliminate the state’s “over-reliance on regressive sales taxes” would continue.
“We are also living in a time of extreme income inequality that corrodes our social compact and causes many to wonder whether wealthy individuals are paying their fair share,” they said.
Opponents of the tax immediately hailed the ruling as proof Seattle officials knew the tax was legally flawed but still pushed it through.
“In our system of government, the Legislature makes laws and the courts interpret them,” Freedom Foundation Chief Litigation Counsel David Dewhirst told Fox News in a statement. “If you want to change the existing tax laws, you can ask your legislator to introduce a bill, or you can sponsor a ballot initiative. And if you want to amend the Constitution, there’s a process for that too.”
The tax, passed by the Seattle City Council in July, targets high-income earners as part of what local lawmakers describe as “a new formula for fairness.”
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.”
The reason there is such fierce opposition to this tax is that other Seattle residents know that this is just the start. Once the hurdle of the state constitution has been done away with, the rest of Seattle’s residents will also be taxed in the name of “fairness.”
Councilmember Kshama Sawant told Fox News in July that the need for the tax is “crystal clear.”
“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 Seattle city government has driven the middle and working class out of the city by making it impossible to live there without being rich or receiving massive government assistance. Funny, but we see the same thing in San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and every other liberal enclave in the country.
In truth, most of Seattle’s wealthy will gladly pay the tax, given that they continue to elect radical left-wing politicians. But the tax is strenuously opposed by small businesses and the non-rich because they know that if the constitutional hurdle to taxing net income can be overcome by the city, they’re next for tax increases. The council’s definition of “rich” will mysteriously fall to the point where just about everybody will be forced to pay their “fair share” of taxes.