July 15, 2019

Washington Court of Appeals rejects Seattle’s “wealth tax”

Seattle, July 15, 2019: Today, the Washington State Court of Appeals released its decision in a case challenging Seattle’s so-called wealth tax. The court ruled that the Washington State Constitution requires that an income tax be equal on all people, meaning that Seattle could not lawfully target one group of people with the tax.

“For nearly a century Washington’s Supreme Court has held that income is property and therefore a tax on income must be uniform on all classes,” said Brian Hodges, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “Any change to that system must go through the constitutional amendment process. The City ignored the law when it adopted its ‘wealth tax,’ hoping to find a court that was unwilling to enforce the plain language of the constitution. We are very pleased that the Court of Appeals saw past the City’s claimed need for more taxes and declared its actions unconstitutional.”

More information about this case is available at pacificlegal.org.

Case Documents

Kunath v. City of Seattle - Wash. Court of Appeals Opinion
January 01, 1970 Download

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 12 victories out of 14 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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