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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 24, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 47
Judge strikes down Seattle income tax
Section One
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Judge strikes down Seattle income tax

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl struck down Seattle's income tax on November 22.

The tax was passed by the City Council in July and signed by then-Mayor Ed Murray. City residents who earned $250,000 or more or married couples who earned $500,000 or more would be liable for a 2.25% tax, had the law been upheld.

Multiple plaintiffs sued to block the tax, arguing that state law forbids taxes on incomes. The City said the tax was, in fact, a legal excise tax, but Judge Ruhl disagreed.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said the City will appeal to the State Supreme Court.

'Our state continues to be one of the worst in the nation when it comes to tax fairness, a result of our misguided overreliance on regressive sales taxes,' City Attorney Pete Holmes and Mayor Tim Burgess said in a statement shortly after the court decision was announced.

'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. When it comes to Washington state, the studies are clear: the wealthiest among us are not paying their fair share. As it happens, many of them agree. In order to build a more just and equitable society for all, we need a serious overhaul of our state's tax structure. We know some argue against any income taxes at all, but we would point out that we already have a corporate income tax in this state - through the business and occupation tax. But we need more progressive tax sources, not fewer. The Seattle income tax was an attempt to move toward this goal, and we are hopeful that it will be upheld on appeal.'

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