Seattle Times: Seattle should abandon costly and wrongheaded pursuit of illegal income tax

The Seattle Times editorial board offers clear, direct and blunt advice to Seattle officials.

Seattle should abandon its costly and wrongheaded pursuit of an illegal income tax.

A judge last month eviscerated the city’s legal justification of the high-earners income tax, affirming that cities in Washington have no authority to impose income taxes.

Seattle officials should not appeal. The city cannot afford such political vanity as long as it has broken sidewalks, underfunded social and police services, a backlog of park maintenance, and libraries that aren’t open regular hours.

The editorial continues in that vein for several paragraphs, identifying the flaws in the city’s argument for the tax – arguments “demolished” (the editorial’s word) by King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl in November. It’s a good read and closes with another good suggestion for city officials.

Seattle should drop this dead-end case and find better ways to advance the worthy conversation about inequality and inequity.

An obvious place to start is by examining the economic burden of the city’s current taxes and the relationship between taxes, a lack of fiscal restraint and the cost of living.

Jason Mercier has compiled a good roundup of editorials from around the state, throwing in a bonus editorial from the Wall Street Journal. So far, Seattle stands alone.