Two more suits filed to block Seattle’s new income tax

Seattle’s new income tax has been hit with two new lawsuits, one involving the conservative Freedom Foundation and the other, former Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

More than a dozen Seattle residents represented by the conservative Freedom Foundation sued the city Wednesday over its new income tax on wealthy households.

In addition, five residents whose legal team includes former Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna and two former state Supreme Court justices sued to block the tax.

There are now three lawsuits against Seattle’s tax, the first brought last month by investment manager Michael Kunath. Although each challenge is beginning in King County Superior Court, City Attorney Pete Holmes said the overall issue could be taken up and resolved by the state Supreme Court as early as 2018.

“We could get there next year and receive a decision promptly,” he said. “This represents a good opportunity to test our legal authority to enact something not as inherently regressive as the prevailing order in Washington state.”

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Passed by unanimous vote this past month by the City Council and subsequently signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray, the Seattle measure is a 2.25 percent tax on total income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for married couples filing together.

Proponents and opponents alike expected the tax to be quickly challenged in court.

The Freedom Foundation plaintiffs, some of whom expect to be subject to the 2.25 percent rate, include Fremont developer Suzie Burke and Aurora Avenue North businesswoman Faye Garneau. Burke and Garneau are major property owners.

They claim the tax violates state laws and the state constitution. And they say the council had no authority to impose the tax without putting it to a vote of the people.

“This tax ordinance’s legal and constitutional infirmities are obvious,” David…

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