Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle – South Park) issued the following statement today in response to the State Court of Appeals ruling on a municipal income tax on those with high incomes.
“Two years ago my colleagues and I unanimously passed legislation to tax people with high incomes. In doing so we created an opportunity to right a decades-old law that was wrongly decided in the first place.
“Our challenges over time have been two-fold; both statutory and constitutional. The Court of Appeals found the City had the statutory authority to impose an income tax. The court further ruled that a law prohibiting cities from enacting net income taxes is unconstitutional. Having resolved the underlying statutory law, the courts have also cleared the way for a constitutional reconsideration. As such, our state Supreme Court is the last hurdle in this race, thereby moving us one step closer towards reversing Washington’s outdated, regressive and unfair tax structure, which is largely recognized as the most regressive tax structure in the nation.
“The state Supreme Court has an opportunity to put fairness, transparency, adequacy, stability, and economic vitality at the top of their list of values, and reverse the narrow 5-4 decision they made in the 1930s, that ruled a city income tax as unconstitutional.
“The ordinance enacting Seattle’s tax identified many pressing priorities, including the homelessness crisis, affordable housing, education, and transit, mental and public health services, and creating green jobs and meeting carbon reduction goals. These are important needs, but as I promised in 2016, if we win this case, my highest priority will be to use some of the revenue to lower the property tax burden and the impact of other regressive taxes, including the business and occupation tax rate for small businesses.”