Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) issued the following statement today in response to the State Court of Appeals ruling on Seattle’s Tax the Rich (income tax) legislation – Ordinance 125339 – sponsored by Councilmembers Sawant and Herbold, which passed unanimously by City Council in 2017:
“Yesterday’s court ruling on our ‘Tax the Rich’ legislation is a huge step forward for Seattle’s working people! The ruling strikes down one of the two principal legal objections to taxing wealthy households, giving the State Supreme Court the first opportunity in almost a century to rule in favor of progressive taxation in Washington State.
“Seattle and Washington State have the nation’s most regressive tax system. The result is a chronic perversity of the wealthy getting wealthier and an abysmal underfunding of public education, affordable housing, social services, and infrastructure. Unlike the regressive taxes in Seattle, which fall overwhelmingly on the shoulders of working people and the poor, our Tax the Rich ordinance would only tax incomes over $250,000. Because so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few millionaires and billionaires, a tiny 2.25% tax on Seattle’s richest residents would raise an estimated $140 million per year, enough to build almost a 1,000 quality, affordable homes each year.
“Like Seattle’s victory on the $15 minimum wage and renters rights ordinances, this ruling affirms that when our local movements act with courage, we can make change happen, contrary to those who tell us that we must wait for the politicians in Olympia to act, which they have failed to in many decades. We must now build the fight to win rent control in Seattle, and not passively wait for permission from State Legislators. Join us at the Rent Control Rally July 20th at 6:00PM at the All Pilgrims Christian Church on Capitol Hill!”
“The Tax the Rich movement cannot afford to become complacent. This legal battle will continue, and if we finally prevail in the courts, big business and the super rich will continue to use their power and wealth to undermine our victories, and working people will need to continue to organize and unite in powerful movements.”