We’ve noted more than once the devastating effects of Seattle’s minimum wage hike, which has cost jobs and income for lower earners. Not satisfied with pulling the rug out from under the poor in the name of “helping” them, Seattle’s central planners have targeted the other end of the income spectrum.
“Seattle’s wealthiest would become the only Washington state residents to pay an income tax under legislation approved by the City Council, a measure designed as much to raise revenue as to open a broader discussion about whether the wealthy pay their fair share,” the Associated Press reports. “The council voted unanimously Monday to impose a 2.25 percent tax on the city’s highest earners. Personal income in excess of $250,000 for individuals and in excess of $500,000 for married couples filing joint returns would be taxed.” The city estimates revenue of $140 million annually — at least until the wealthy move elsewhere.
“Seattle is challenging this state’s antiquated and unsustainable tax structure by passing a progressive income tax,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement on his website. “Our goal is to replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness, while ensuring Seattle stands up to President Trump’s austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, healthcare, and social services. This is a fight for economic stability, equity, and justice.” Ah, so it’s Donald Trump’s fault.
One 24-year-old tax supporter who says she makes $170,000 per year proclaimed, “I would love to be taxed.” Easy for her to say since she won’t, in fact, be taxed. Human nature is full of envy, and most class warfare-waging leftists are perfectly fine imposing taxes on the other guy while pontificating about “fairness.” But there’s always volunteering to pay more. That didn’t work out too well in Norway, where high-minded leftists who want the government to have more money only paid in $1,325 so far.
Seattle’s proposal is sure to face legal challenges. Washington state is one of seven states without an income tax, and state law prohibits cities from levying one — especially one that’s “uneven.” Indeed, it is also, some would argue, a bill of attainder (outlawed in Article I, Section 9) specifically targeting one group of citizens for the “crime” of earning more money than other people. Then again, that’s also the, er, rich heritage of the U.S. income tax, which so-called “progressives” initially introduced as a tax only on the wealthiest Americans. Perhaps Seattle’s punitive measure will become a broader test case…