By Monica Nickelsburg
July 24, 2017
Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, has founded a non-profit to fund legal challenges to Seattle’s new income tax on high earners.
The group, called the Opportunity for All Coalition, claims Seattle’s newly-passed tax is “illegal” and “unnecessary.”
Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council passed a 2.25 percent tax on income that is more than $250,000 per year ($500,000 for joint filers). The tax does not apply to all income earned by Seattle’s wealthiest residents; just 2.25 percent of dollars above the $250,000 threshold would be collected.
The tax is intended as a test case to determine whether a Washington law that says local jurisdictions cannot tax income violates the state’s constitution. Its first legal challenge came Friday, though McIlwain says the coalition was not involved in that suit.
“I believe there are times when you need to serve your community,” McIlwain told GeekWire in an email. “In defeating the city income tax, we can help maintain a system of opportunity and job creation for innovators and workers.”
McIlwain has been outspoken in his opposition to an income tax in Washington. At a conference in January, he said often hears that people moving to the region for tech jobs are happy to escape a state income tax. McIlwain and the Opportunity for All Coalition believe that Seattle’s existing tax structure and future revenue from the city’s growing population are sufficient.