Superior Court Judge Rules Against Seattle Income Tax, Appeal On the Way


What is it about disproportionately large sales and property taxes that libertarians love so much? The best explanation is self-defeating, nihilistic spite. Par for today’s conservatives.
The city probably expected to lose in totality at this court level since it must stand by the precedent of the higher courts, but the city lost every lesser statutory argument. Not an excise tax. Not authorized to tax income. Gross income is net income. This is undoubtably a worse ruling than the city was hoping for. It didn’t just lose. It was soundly rejected. And, as if of now, several statutory rulings would need to be overturned before the court will even entertain the constitutionality question.

This isn’t a “test case”. It’s a giant waste of money so the council can pander to its base.
The base they’re “pandering” to is upwards of 75% of Seattle voters. Look how low the anti-income tax candidates did in the mayoral primary.

Doing what a supermajority wants is not “pandering”. It’s doing the job you were elected to do.
It’s pandering because it has extremely little chance of passing the multiple legal hurdles. And the proponents have greatly oversimplified those legal issues essentially boiling it down to the single constitutional issue. It’s dishonest for political gain.
The income tax died a just and righteous death. I hope it stays dead forever.
@4 - thanks for clarifying, in writing, that billions is spelled with a 'b.' I've always been confusued about that.
pretty much what anyone with logical thinking skills assumed would happen - thanks for the grandstanding though, council goobers.
As predicted. Now prepare yourselves for the full power of the force in the form of retribution of those wage earners when a state income tax is pushed through for everyone by those with the money backing to do legally do it. Liberal Washington State and Seattle in particular just shot themselves in the proverbial foot and took what was left of struggling middle and lower wage earners and threw them under a bus that not even magical “affordable housing” will be able to fix. The plot line is as transparent as a cheap dime store novel. But then again- nothing in Seattle is cheap-except maybe predictive thinking.
Weird how it’s not a grandstanding waste of money when the city is defending a blatantly unconstitutional ordinance against panhandling or existing while homeless. Or companies getting their asses handed to them in court trying to avoid paying $15/hour.


Even if the Washington Supreme Court rules against Seattle, the outcome will be a precise definition of what taxes the current court will allow. That’s a blueprint for a law that will stick.

Sorry to interrupt. You were mansplaining...?
Rule of law threw a shut out today.

@12 Why would it go to the state supreme court. There is nothing in the lower courts ruling that addresses an issue concerning the state Constitution.
27 pages. Seems like he meant it. Onward!

Then what are you so worried ab?

But you really don't have any idea what the WA justices will do. They can do whatever the fuck they want. That's the rules.
@10 ”thanks for the grandstanding though, council goobers”

An Open Letter to the City of Seattle:

Moments after Judge Ruhl announced his decision that your income tax is illegal, you declared that you will “immediately” appeal. You and your attorneys did not even have time to read and digest Judge Ruhl’s opinion before you dedicated Seattle’s resources to another futile effort to change black into white.

Responsible governments do not act that way. The think before they act, and they seek input from everyone, not just their inner circle. You passed the income tax ordinance in utter disregard of what anyone with a different or contrary view had to say, and the result was that your income tax was shredded by a very capable judge. Judge Ruhl not only wrote an excellent opinion, but he also addressed every conceivable argument in a way that would make reversing him almost impossible for any judge. And, contrary to your belief, we have a fine Supreme Court made up of honorable members who will waste little time in rejecting you attempt to rewrite constitutional law that has been upheld over three fourths of our State’s history.

If you appeal this case and lose again, you are going to create an unprecedented backlash in the next election. I count myself as a progressive, but I am a progressive who believes in the rule of law, and I would vote for almost anyone to restore the rule of law to Seattle. I doubt you want to know how many people share my sentiments.

This is either the moment when you realize that your job is to address the needs of the citizens of Seattle, or the moment when you double down on your effort to change the world. The choice is yours now, but it will be ours at the ballot box soon enough.

*Mathew Davis, attorney for lead plaintiff Mike Kunath in Kunath v. City of Seattle, in which Judge John Ruhl declared Seattle’s income tax illegal.