Washington Supreme Court votes on Seattle City Council’s proposed income tax

On Friday, Jan. 11, the Washington State Supreme Court released a brief declining to review a King County court’s ruling that the Seattle City Council does not have the authority to impose an income tax on its residents.

On July 10, 2017, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance establishing the tax which was signed into law by then Mayor Ed Murray. The law places a tax of 2.25% on any individuals making more than $250,000 and married couples making a combined $500,000 annually in Seattle. The Council also budgeted $250,000 to cover legal costs associated with the tax.

The City was quickly sued by four different parties and the tax was struck down by a local court. The City Council decided to forego an appeal and ask the state’s Supreme Court to review the case. After more than a year, the state Supreme Court has said they do not want to review the case.

This decision is a victory for opponents of the tax and backs up Washington voter’s continued opposition to any local income taxes. Since 1934 Washington has voted to reject an income tax 10 times.

This decision is not the end of the Seattle City Council’s push to impose a local tax. Seattle’s Attorney Pete Holmes issued a statement about where things are headed, “While we felt the state Supreme Court was the most appropriate forum to address the constitutional issues we hope to resolve in this case, we’re happy to first take our arguments to the Court of Appeals.”