Seattle Adopts Illegal Income Tax: Freedom Foundation Files Suit to Stop It

** ADVANCE FOR NOV. 4-5 WEEKEND EDITIONS ** With the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline in the background, tribal fisherman Dwayne Ross Sr., left, and his daughter Freda, right, both Muckleshoot Indians, pull in a salmon net Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006 as they fish in the Duwamish River, a right exercised under the historic 1974 federal court decision that restored tribal access to "usual and accustomed" fishing grounds. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Freedom Foundation filed suit against the Seattle City Council in King County Superior Court on Wednesday, after the body approved a personal income tax targeting high-income earners in the city last month. In what they called a “new formula for fairness,” the council adopted the 2.25 percent tax on individuals earning more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $500,000.


Here’s the thing: Washington state is one of only seven states that prohibits a personal income tax, but don’t tell that to the Seattle city council. They are fully aware that the income tax levied by the city flouts state law and decades of legal precedent.

“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.”

Avowed Socialist council member, Kshama Sawant, told Fox News last month the city council plans to fight any suits filed against the law at taxpayer expense, of course.


It’s worth noting that the far left city council who talk all day long about, albeit incorrectly, “our democracy” and the importance of democracy, are outright rejecting the will of voters in the state.

Washingtonians have voted against personal income tax at the state level a total of nine times. Additionally, in 1951 the Washington Supreme Court invalidated state income tax, and in 1984 a law was passed to keep any city or county from taxing residents on their net income.

If Seattle can do this, what laws and precedents can it, and other cities and counties, not violate in the future?

The Seattle City Council is attempting to operate its own anti-capitalist fiefdom believing it can violate state law and the will of the people. As per usual, “democracy” and the courts are tantamount only when the Left gets their way.


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