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Seattle Approves Rich-Only Income Tax

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Supporters waved "Tax the Rich" signs Monday as Seattle's city council voted unanimously to do exactly that. By a vote of 9-0, the council approved an income tax that only applies to wealthy residents, with the 2.25% tax starting at income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for married couples filing joint returns, the Seattle Times reports and published Newser (US).

The city estimates that the tax will raise around $140 million a year from Seattle's 20,000 or so wealthiest residents. Washington State doesn't have a personal income tax and a 1984 law bans cities and counties in the state from taxing net income, meaning Seattle's move is certain to face legal challenges, the AP reports.

Opponents vowed to fight the measure, with Washington State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison urging citizens to "forcefully resist" the tax and not pay a penny. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he'll sign the measure into law Friday—and he will welcome legal challenges.

The goal is to replace the current "regressive" tax system with a fairer one, "while ensuring Seattle stands up to President Trump's austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, health care, and social services," the mayor tells Reuters. (Illinois has ended its long budget standoff with a 32% hike in the income tax rate.)

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