Coalition wants to Trump-proof Seattle with an income tax

by: Essex Porter Updated:

Seattle’s stand as a sanctuary city for immigrants could cost the city $75 million, according to Mayor Ed Murray. Plus the Trump administration has announced steep domestic budget cuts. So advocates say it’s time to “Trump-proof” Seattle with a high-earners income tax.

The wealthy should be very happy to take a small percentage of their income… to support and maintain the services that make a city function well,” said Bobby Righi of the Trump-proof Seattle Coalition.

Members of Seattle coalition filled the City Council chambers today for an informational meeting on a new Seattle income tax.

“We're sort of figuring if you're making over a quarter million dollars in total income, you're probably, you're doing OK,” said coalition member Katie Wilson.

The coalition proposes a 2.5 percent tax on unearned income such as capital gains, Interest and dividends.

Only those households making $250,000 a year and more would be affected. Home sales, rental income, stock options and business income would be exempt.

Supporters cite the huge women's march in response to President Trump's inauguration as a sign that people would be supportive.

“We're going to continue to see a hunger from people to see their organization stand up with them,” said Katie Garrow of the coalition.

Supporters also point to Seattle's economic boom as a sign that is the right time to impose a high-earners income tax. But critics worry the tax will drag the economy down.

“I think an income tax just in the city of Seattle would be a bad idea, I think it would tend to dampen down business and entrepreneurial innovation and creativity, said Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center.

Washington voters have rejected an income tax nine times in the past, and courts have ruled it to be unconstitutional.

But City Council member Lisa Herbold says there may be a way to design a tax that will get the current State Supreme Court to overturn the past rulings.

Next Up: