Tax Equity Working Group


At their August 14th meeting, the Olympia City Council voted unanimously to forward an amicus brief supporting Seattle in their case before the State Supreme Court seeking to allow progressive income taxation in Washington!

More two years ago, an effort began to overturn the precedent prohibiting progressive income tax (set by the Washington Supreme Court in response to two Depression-era tax progressive tax plans passed by citizen initiative). This effort, Opportunity for Olympia, worked to pass a popular initiative taxing the rich in order to provide free public college to all Olympia GRE recipients and high school graduates. However, because of fear of challenging the status quo in court, including from many on the City Council, the initiative failed.

In 2017, Seattle's City Council adopted a similar tax plan on individual incomes over $250,000/year with the support of groups including Seattle DSA. As predicted, the rich sued to protect their privileged position, and the case is headed to the State Supreme Court.

In August 2018, after more than a year of work, the first campaign our Local adopted succeeded in pushing the City to declare its formal support for Seattle's case with a statement and an amicus brief (a legal opinion field by a interested party not directly involved in a suit). Pushed by organizers in their own cities, the City Councils of Port Angeles and Port Townsend followed suit.

Now, the case is movign through the state court system. In July 2019, a state appeals court ruled broadly in favor of Seattle's ability to pass such a tax, only noting that the previous state Supreme Court ruling, whcih they could not overturn, stood in the way. This case will now certainly go before the Supreme Court, and a favorable decision could mean the beginning of a new state of affairs in Washington, where progressive taxation will provide the funding we desperately need to support ambitious programs of universal healthcare, housing, and high-quality education, and a Green New Deal!

Let's keep up the fight so we can tax the rich and spend the money on good things for working people!