It’s a modern-day version of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, I suppose. The city of Seattle, Washington continues its long, spiraling descent into self-parody this month by taking a page straight out of the Barack Obama playbook. At some point, you see, you’ve simply made enough money. And the Seattle city council has decided that “enough” works out to about $250,000 per year. Make any more than that and you will soon be subjected to a special tax being levied on you for no other reason than the fact that you are just too darned rich for polite company. (Seattle Times)
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved an income tax on wealthy residents Monday, a move widely expected to draw a quick legal challenge.
The measure applies a 2.25 percent tax on total income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for married couples filing their taxes together…
The city estimates the tax would raise about $140 million a year and cost $10 million to $13 million to set up, plus $5 million to $6 million per year to manage and enforce.
In order to support this new scheme, the council found a willing disciple to come to their meeting and proclaim that she did indeed make too much money and really, really needed to have some of it taken away.
“Seattle should serve everyone, not just rich folks,” software developer Carissa Knipe told the council before the 9-0 vote, saying she makes more than $170,000 per year.
“I would love to be taxed,” the 24-year-old from Ballard testified, drawing applause from a room packed with supporters of the tax.
If Ms. Knipe is really all that civically minded, she should be made aware that pretty much every level of government provides ways for people to directly contribute money to the public coffers. The beauty of that system is that you don’t force the concept on everyone else who may have better uses for their funds.
But there’s more going on here than just a bad idea being put into practice. Opponents of the proposal point out that local or municipal income taxes of any sort which are “uneven” in application are forbidden in the state constitution and the state supreme court has previously struck an attempt to implement one at the ballot box. Further, there’s a state law which flatly forbids cities from taxing net income. But that’s not going to slow down Mayor Ed Murray’s roll. He claims that the law is, “challenging this state’s antiquated and unsustainable tax structure.”
You know what else you’re challenging here, Mr. Mayor? The laws and the state constitution you swore to uphold. But hey… don’t let a little thing like that bother you.
On a more general note, the leadership in Seattle is ignoring some other basic facts of human nature. You can only squeeze the golden goose so far before it flies the coop. The wealthier citizens are wealthy for a reason. They tend to be the investors and job creators and spenders who keep the economy humming along. If you single them out for special treatment and they decide to move outside the confines of the city (as all the gun shops did when you passed the gun and ammunition tax) they take all of that economic momentum with them.
But, again… don’t let that stop you. I’m sure this will all work out just fine in the end.