The State Supreme Court has decided to forgo direct review of Seattle’s income tax on the affluent, choosing to send the income tax first to the state court of appeals. We anticipate a continued deliberate, thoughtful, and persistent legal process, first at the Court of Appeals and then to the State Supreme Court.
This course of action underscores the seriousness of the issue. Our state has the most regressive tax system in the country, taxing middle class families three times more than the wealthiest 1 percent, and low income families six times more than the wealthiest 1 percent.
The City of Seattle has the most regressive taxes of any municipality in the state, with an effective tax rate of 17 percent on households with incomes of $25,000, while households at $250,000 contribute only 4.4 percent for state and local taxes. An ongoing consequence of our tax system is the inability to fund public services, with a drawdown of public funding for higher education, public health, and state parks.
Seattle’s income tax on the affluent will begin to reverse these inequities and fund needed public services. It is constitutional, legislatively permissible, and ready to be implemented. We look forward to the legal review of the Court of Appeals and ultimately the State Supreme Court.