State Attorney General Bob Ferguson wants the state Supreme Court to take up the legal challenge to the state capital gains tax sooner rather than later, Geek Wire reports.
Seeking to overturn a lower court ruling blocking Washington state’s new capital gains tax, the attorney general’s office on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to take up the case on direct appeal.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s decision to attempt to bypass the state appellate court is, in essence, a legal acknowledgement that the fight over what constitutes an income tax is very likely to end up in Washington’s top court anyway. The state Supreme Court can decline the direct appeal but some legal experts said it is unlikely to.
We wrote about the superior court decision here.
Geek Wire notes that not everyone agrees that the Supreme Court will shortcut the process.
Eric R. Stahlfeld, an attorney with the Freedom Foundation who represents one of the groups opposing the tax, said the Supreme Court recently declined to hear a similar case out of Seattle. When the city tried to get the state’s top court to hear the successful challenge to its own income tax in 2017, the court declined.
“There is no guarantee at all the state Supreme Court will take this case immediately,” Stahlfeld said.
Geek Wire reporter Mike Lewis walks through the issues involved. He also writes that the court decision on this case might not be the last word.
Even so, the battle might not end with the state Supreme Court, should it decide to grant the direct appeal. Currently, there are a handful of ballot measures opposing a capital gains tax filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
None have yet secured enough signatures for the ballot. But the one likely to get the most attention has not yet been assigned a number: The Repeal the Capital Gains Tax initiative.
See our post on the Repeal the Capital Tax Tax initiative here.