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Seattle income tax has its first challenger

Seattle passed its income tax Monday with the aim of taking it to court, challenging the state’s Constitution, and opening the door for statewide income taxes. The Freedom Foundation is the first party to take on that challenge.

“In the wake of the Seattle City Council’s vote on Monday to approve an illegal, unconstitutional income tax, the Freedom Foundation is prepared to challenge the action in court – hopefully with a coalition of other freedom-minded organizations,” the foundation said Monday in a press release.

RELATED: Seattle passes an income tax

The Freedom Foundation is a right-wing think tank based in Washington and Oregon. It argues that the income tax won’t stop at Seattle’s rich, rather, if it gets through it will eventually be imposed upon people at various income levels. The foundation further notes that Washington’s constitution already outlaws income taxes.

The matter has been ruled upon by the Supreme Court twice in Washington’s history. First in the 1930s when the court determined that income was property. The state Constitution further states that all property must be taxed uniformly at 1 percent. This prevents a progressive income tax in Washington — different income levels paying different rates. Proponents argue that the state’s poorest pay a larger percentage of their income, whereas higher-income residents pay a smaller portion.

As the Freedom Foundation stated, it hopes to form a coalition to battle Seattle’s income tax through the court system. Therefore, it could just be the first of many organizations planning on challenging Seattle.

“Liberals have long wanted a statewide income tax to fund their big government programs and hire thousands more unionized public employees,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe. “But voters have consistently rejected the idea.”

“So they’re trying to get around that problem,” he said, “by imposing a tax that, at least at first, only the ‘rich’ will have to pay. But there are two problems with that idea. One, it’s a lie. No matter who starts out paying it, everyone will eventually suffer. And two, it’s manifestly illegal and unconstitutional in Washington to impose a tax that treats people differently based on income level.”

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