Seattle's City Council Defends Potentially Illegal Tax Hike | NTK Network Seattle’s City Council Defends Potentially Illegal Tax Hike

Seattle’s City Council Defends Potentially Illegal Tax Hike

The income tax increase violates the Washington state constitution, and many industry experts warn the tax will have the opposite effect.

By NTK Staff | 11.17.2017 @3:57pm
Seattle’s City Council Defends Potentially Illegal Tax Hike

The opening arguments in the case surrounding Seattle’s controversial income tax increase began on Friday.

Over the summer, Seattle’s city council passed an ordinance that established “an income tax on individuals in Seattle earning more than $250,000 annually and married couples filing jointly who earn more than $500,000 a year.”

The ordinance was introduced by Socialist Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant in June and passed by a unanimous vote in July.

Councilwoman Sawant got the idea for the ordinance from former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who earlier in the year suggested “proposing a city income tax on high-end” households. Murray was forced to resign in September following multiple allegations of child abuse and sexual molestation.

But the ordinance violates Washington’s state constitution, which says it’s illegal for cities to impose an income tax.

Seattle’s city council agreed that one of the benefits of the ordinance is that it would address the city’s affordable housing crisis. Middle-class residents and younger people have been priced out of the Seattle real-estate market because of sky-high housing prices.

However, real estate industry leaders in the area say the tax could have the opposite effect “by raising the costs of selling a home or maintaining a rental property.”

The income tax hike isn’t the first questionable ordinance that Settle’s “progressive” city council has proposed in recent years. In 2016, the council voted to increase the city’s minimum wage, which they alleged wouldn’t negatively impact people who were earning a minimum wage.

However, researchers at the University of Washington issued a study in June that found a minimum wage hike in Seattle had resulted in a decline in jobs and hours for workers.

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