income tax | KNKX

income tax

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 Monday to pass a citywide income tax on high earners.

The 2.25-percent tax applies to annual income over $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a couple filing jointly.

Mayor Ed Murray supports the tax and is expected to sign it into law. 

The tax is scheduled to apply to income earned in 2018, though proponents say they expect a lawsuit that may delay its implementation. 

Legal experts view the city's legislation as a test case that may determine whether citywide income taxes are legal in Washington state.

The Overcast: Seattle Wants An Income Tax But It's Complicated

Jun 30, 2017
Simone Alicea / KNKX

The Seattle City Council plans on passing a local income tax in the next couple weeks. But there are a lot of questions about a potential city income tax in a state that doesn't have one.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Seattle City Council members heard from dozens of speakers Wednesday evening during the first public hearing at City Hall on a proposal to enact a citywide income tax.

Mayor Ed Murray and council members Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant unveiled the legislation Monday evening. The council passed a resolution in May saying it planned to consider and pass an income tax ordinance by July.

The current proposal is a two percent tax on income more than $250,000 per year for individuals and more than $500,000 for couples who file their taxes jointly. 

SIMONE BOE

Activists say they're still ready to campaign for an income tax to fund college tuition in Olympia, despite a court ruling last week blocking the initiative from the ballot this Election Day.

The Opportunity for Olympia campaign has appealed the Aug. 24 decision, and leaders say they hope to get a hearing as early as Wednesday in the state's Court of Appeals. 

courtesy of Simone Boe

The Olympia City Council is trying to block an initiative that would create a city-wide income tax, which would be the first of its kind in the state. Now it’s up to the courts to decide whether voters will see it in the fall.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

If you’re poor and you live in Washington state, you wind up forking over almost 17 percent of your income in state and local taxes. That’s according to a recent report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

But if you live in, say, Boise or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, state and local taxes only eat up 8.5 percent of your income.

Seattle Daily Times

Editor's Note: We're taking a closer look at Washington's tax system through a week-long series. This is the first installment of “Where’s the Dough? On the Hunt for Washington’s Missing Tax Dollars."

Washington state’s tax system has long been heaped with insults. Lately, it’s been called a jalopy, a Ford Pinto and the worst in the country.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says Washington's tax system is the most regressive in the nation. That’s because with our state’s heavy reliance on sales tax and lack of an income tax, the poorest 20 percent of residents pay 16.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while the richest pay 2.4 percent.

AP photo.

A self-described 'poor man' from Spokane tells us he wouldn't think of voting for I-1098, the income tax measure, because "the rich are blessed."  KPLU's Paula Wissel asks "Who's rich and who's not?" in our latest report on Election 2010.  The initiative aims to tax the wealthiest 1.2% in the state. That's a quantifiable definition of 'rich.'  But the conversation also invites a qualitative definition to a perhaps undefinable question.