Freedom Foundation

Seattle income tax stopped… for now

The Seattle City Council adopted an illegal income tax earlier this year, one that violates several laws and constitutional provisions. And the worst part is the City Council knows it, they just don’t care.

The city’s attorney, Paul Lawrence, acknowledged in court the Seattle tax is unconstitutional under existing law.

Washington statutory law and the state Constitution both prohibit tax plans that impose one rate on lower-income individuals and a higher rate for those who earn more – which Seattle’s does. In an attempt to justify his position, Lawrence argued the law was incorrectly decided.

He also said that if the judge followed the law (meaning the tax would have to be reversed), the city of Seattle would lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. He is essentially saying the ends justify the means, and it doesn’t matter if they collect the money illegally (which they have acknowledged) they feel they know better than the people they are taking the money away from.

In our system of government, the Legislature makes laws and the courts interpret them. 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 problem for the proponents of this income tax is they’ve tried that and it never works because the voters have consistently rejected income taxes of all kinds.

This is why Freedom Foundation got involved.

We can’t sit back when government is abusing its power and mistreating its citizens. We believe in every person’s right to equal treatment under law. Seattle’s law stands for something else – that some people can be singled out and punished in the name of “progress.”

After months of Freedom Foundation fighting in court, Judge John R. Ruhl came down with a ruling the day before Thanksgiving. He agreed that Seattle’s scheme to impose an income tax on the city’s high earners violates state law.

The judge’s decision noted, “Regardless of what label one may choose in classifying the city’s tax, the requirement remains that the Legislature must specifically authorize the tax. The city has not identified any specific statutory authorization for its tax.”

Unfortunately, instead of conceding defeat, the city has announced its intention to appeal the ruling.

This will waste more of the taxpayers’ money all in an effort to fight for what they know is illegal.

Freedom Foundation will not back down from this fight. We won’t let the government overreach and abuse its power.

We must fight this battle, here and now, and stand up for what is right.

Would you consider donating to our cause and help ensure Freedom prevails?

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