Earlier this week the City of Seattle filed its first brief to the Washington State Supreme Court, attempting to entice it to take up the legal challenge to the city’s income tax ordinance.
Last year Jason Mercier, Director of the Center for Government Reform at the conservative Washington Policy Center, submitted an expansive public document request for documents and communications from Seattle officials related to the development of the city’s income tax ordinance. He’s been kind enough to share and discuss the resulting information-dumps with me, and the results are a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the City Council operates.
I should state up-front: Jason and I disagree on the merits of an income tax (I’m for it), but we have a shared interest in government transparency and accountability, independent of government officials’ political leanings. The income tax legislative effort was a big, complex knot of relationships: lobbyists, legislators, attorneys, activists, and city staff — largely hidden from view. I was surprised by the extended efforts to keep communications secret, as well as who did the work and who got paid for it.
It’s been almost two months since my last catch-all posting on the status of the City of Seattle’s various outstanding legal battles. Stuff has happened, so it’s time for an update.
This afternoon King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl struck down Seattle’s income tax ordinance, setting the stage for the inevitable appeals up to the state Supreme Court.
This morning King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl held a hearing in the case challenging the City of Seattle’s income tax on annual income over $250,000. And it was a protracted, two-and-a-half hour affair.
The City of Seattle has so many high-profile court cases underway, it’s hard to stay up to date with them all. Here’s what’s been happening recently…
We knew it was going to happen, and it sure didn’t take long. The first lawsuit to challenge the City of Seattle’s new income tax was filed last week in King County Superior Court.
There’s really only one story this morning.
This afternoon the City Council unanimously passed the proposed tax on income over $250,000 per year.