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Last Friday, a King County Superior Court judge heard arguments for and against the city of Seattle’s proposed graduated income tax scheme but ultimately issued no ruling on it.
Judge John R. Ruhl indicated he might issue a ruling prior to Thanksgiving, but nearly everyone agrees the case will ultimately be decided by the Washington State Supreme Court.
Ruhl’s decision will, however, give the victorious side the early bragging rights while setting the legal agenda for the inevitable appeals.
During the arguments, the cities’ attorney, Paul Laurence, acknowledged the Seattle tax is unconstitutional under existing law. He just complained that the law was incorrectly decided, which of course is what income tax advocates have been complaining about for decades in Washington.
He also said that if the judge follows 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. So 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.
Tom McCabe, Freedom Foundation CEO, said “In a very real sense the city is trying to force the courts – most notably the Washington State Supreme Court – to be its accomplice. The council members may be the ones breaking the law, but they fully expect the state’s highest court to drive the getaway car.”
That’s all for this week—until next week, I’m David Bramblett—stay informed.