The Dirty Dozen: 12 Reasons Why the Seattle Income Tax is a Disaster

It’s unconstitutional and violates state law:

  1. Article VII of the Washington constitution stipulates that all taxes must be “uniform upon the same class of property.” A Seattle income tax would be in violation of the constitution’s uniformity clause. (Washington Constitution Art. 7, Sec. 1)
  2. State law prohibits individual localities from adopting taxes on income. (RCW 36.65.030)
  3. The Seattle City Council does not have an express grant of authority to levy an income tax. (King County v. City of Algona, 101 Wn.2d 789, 791, 681 P.2d 1281)

It’s against the will of the voters:

  1. Nine times the voters of the state have overwhelmingly rejected an income tax.
  2. Voters know that the income tax on higher earners (the few) is a slippery slope to an income tax on the middle class (the majority)– a risk voters specifically rejected in 2010.

It’s an invasion of privacy and ripe for abuse:

  1. ALL residents would be required to report their income to local “IRS-style” bureaucrats, who may be their neighbors—an invasion of privacy and susceptible to government “anonymous leaks” of their private information.

It’s costly and wasteful spending:

  1. This scheme is intended to force an income tax on the entire state by moving the bill through the judicial system to the State Supreme Court.  With no guarantees of overturning the state constitution, litigation costs would run to the $multi-millions.
  2. A giant “IRS” bureaucracy to administer the income tax compliance and collection would cost (by their own estimates) $20million but would likely be much higher.

It’s unfair to the already overtaxed citizens of Seattle:

  1. The past four years, Seattle government’s budget has ballooned by 35%, more than 8% per year average when inflation was less than 2% — a spending increase of $2000 per resident.
  2. Even as property taxes, sales taxes, user taxes and car tabs have risen, citizens see problems such as homelessness, addiction, roads, traffic, housing and crime devastating our communities. Why give more of our money to be so poorly and inefficiently spent?
  3. Washington citizens already pay more per capita in taxes than almost every state in the country except the urban Northeast and California. With an income tax, jobs flee to lower-tax locations.
  4. Where “millionaire taxes” have been implemented across the country, millionaires move to more tax friendly cities, but the working class can’t move so easily. Detroit, anyone?



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