November 16, 2017
“Battle Lines Are Drawn in the Income Tax Court Fight”
From the Seattle Weekly, 11/15/17
“On Friday, a King County Superior Court judge will hear arguments on the legality of the income tax proposal approved by the Seattle City Council over the summer. The hearing is the first step in litigating the lawsuits filed against the City of Seattle that, if successful, could scuttle the attempts by activists and city leaders to introduce a more progressive tax structure.
In the City of Seattle’s corner is Paul Lawrence, an attorney with Pacifica Law Group; Hugh Spitzer, a professor of law at the University of Washington; and in-house staff from the City’s Law Department.
“The overarching theme [of our argument] is that this is a tax that the city is authorized to impose,” Lawrence told Seattle Weekly.
This, said Lawrence, is because the ordinance taxes gross income and not net income (which is the type of income explicitly banned by state statutes). “We distinguish between what I as an individual resident take in versus what the entity I work for earns,” he said. “It looks at it from a personal income basis and we think that, in that context, we have a gross income tax and not a net income tax.”