When someone spoke against Seattle tax on wealthy, here's what happened

by: KIRO 7 News Staff Updated:

After the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an income tax on the wealthy, the Washington State GOP chair came to voice opposition to it.

Though, as she stood outside city hall, supporters of the progressive tax weren’t having it.

People clad in red shirts and signs from the “tax the rich” movement – an effort started months ago in part by Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant – surrounded her podium before the news conference.

Chair Susan Hutchison moved in front of a shield of signs to talk to reporters when tensions got high. Someone ripped a “tax the rich” sign, and demonstrators spoke over Hutchison.

“The action of the council to start an income tax is illegal, it’s unconstitutional, it’s against the will of the people, as people have expressed,” Hutchison said before supporters chanted “tax the rich.”

"We are encouraging all to exercise civil disobedience to not comply to not file and to not pay," she said. Scroll down to keep reading.


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The council voted 9-0 for the ordinance, which would establish an income tax on individuals in Seattle earning more than $250,000 annually and married couples filing jointly who earn more than $500,000 a year.

>> Read exactly how the tax would work here.

Proponents of the tax say it would create a more even playing field in a city that's becoming too expensive for low- to middle-income taxpayers to afford.

The income tax should move Seattle toward a more progressive tax system because it is intended to reduce regressive taxes such as property taxes, and finance priorities like addressing the homelessness crisis and offsetting federal budget cuts, according to the council.

But critics say the majority of the wealthiest taxpayers in Seattle are small-business owners, managers and professionals.

Some believe a progressive tax would create an unfriendly business climate and could drive companies away or prevent new ones from forming.

It is, as Hutchison noted, illegal for cities to impose an income tax under the Washington State Constitution, so the tax it will be challenged and likely reversed.


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