In a Wednesday column in the Washington Post, Beltway conservative columnist George F. Will put the hurt on “progressivism” by profiling the city of Seattle, where garden-variety liberals seem often outnumbered by the far left.
Will focused on the city’s income tax, which is wholly illegal under state statute and everybody, with the exception of the city council and certain bureaucrats, knows it. But that hasn’t stopped “progress.” Here’s what Will said that should raise eyebrows:
“The city council, which overestimates its cleverness, claims it is taxing “total income” as defined on IRS 1040 forms. But that is net income, after deductions and exclusions…
“A suit challenging the city council’s tax notes that cities, as creatures of the state, have only such taxing authority as is expressly granted by the state legislature. And the tax is explicitly designed to “test the constitutionality of a progressive income tax,” on which Washington’s Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled. The city council must hope that the state’s Supreme Court, which is very liberal, can be persuaded, in a third consideration of unchanging language, to say that constitutional and statutory facts can be made to disappear in a mist of interpretations.”
Will only briefly alluded to Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax,” which that liberal state Supreme Court recently upheld. But he may have explained why the city thinks it can get away with the income tax. They just might think that the state high court will roll once again to the left.
He repeatedly reminded readers that the city council votes in unison on these measures, which suggests strongly they are not so much of one mind, but have lost their individual minds.
Remember, the city lost one battle on that gun tax, and it was an important fight. When it came time to report how much revenue the tax had actually produced, the city went mute. When the council unanimously adopted the gun tax, it was predicted to raise between $300,000 and $500,000 annually. A lawsuit filed by the senior editor of TheGunMag.com and Second Amendment Foundation forced the city to reveal that the tax had actually brought in just over $103,000.
In the process, the tax forced one major firearms retailer to relocate outside the city. But that might have been what the city wanted, anyway, according to some critics. Regardless, the gun violence tax hasn’t prevented violence at all. According to Seattle Police Department data, reported shooting incidents are up, even though the Seattle Times reported this week that homicides are down this year in four cities, Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma.
Will’s critique of Seattle isn’t just a slap at the city, but at the “progressive” ideal. Facts don’t matter, only “interpretations.”
Well, interpret this: Washington voters have rejected an income tax in the past. Three lawsuits have been filed against Seattle’s scheme. That’s a signal.