FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7th, 2017
Contact: John Murray, 202-821-2219 |

These “Opportunity Voices” Help Shape Conversation Around Tax Impact on Local Businesses

Seattle, WA. Four additional plaintiffs were added to the original August 9 lawsuit filed by the Opportunity for All Coalition. The new plaintiffs signed on to the complaint to lend their support for the ongoing effort to fight the recently passed illegal Seattle Income Tax.

“The additional plaintiffs reflect the growing momentum against the illegal income tax,” said Matt McIlwain, who helped found the Opportunity for All Coalition. “We have seen significant support not only in Seattle, but also from surrounding communities and around the state. People understand that if this tax is upheld in Seattle, it will get expanded to other communities and all income levels.”

“This city’s income tax won’t affect us immediately,” said Plaintiff Alisa Artis. “But it is inevitable that the tax will be extended to families of all incomes.  As we consider re-starting our baking business, this tax makes us re-think whether Seattle is the best place to do that.”

“I support the complaint because I see the real damage this tax will have on businesses in our community,” said Plaintiff Lien Dang. “The Coalition is uniting a diverse group together to prove that this tax is unnecessary and illegal.”

“I would love to end my 90-minute commute to Seattle,” said Plaintiff Kerry Lebel, who works at a technology company in Seattle, but drives from his home in University Place.  “The Seattle City Council is actually creating significant disincentives for people interested in working and living in the city.  And, I don’t see any way this tax would not affect the majority of Seattle residents within the next few years.”

The Seattle income tax will be costly for long-time homeowners who are relying on selling their homes to cover retirement or assisted living expenses. Plaintiff Dorothy Sale, a 98-year old Seattleite who bought her home in Ravenna in 1967, said, “I am not rich. I live on a state pension and social security. Seattle’s income tax will harm homeowners like me who may someday be forced to sell their houses to cover long-term care.”

The Opportunity for ALL Coalition ( is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support a legal challenge to the recently passed Seattle income tax. The Coalition’s legal team includes former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, former Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, and Dan Dunne, a litigation partner at Orrick Herrington.

Biographies of New Plaintiffs:

  • Alisa Artis.  Alisa grew up in Seward Park.  After her husband joined the Air Force, she moved briefly to the Midwest and the Southwest, but had the opportunity to move back to Seattle when her husband got a job as a pilot.  Alisa ran a small baking company in Seattle for several years, and is considering re-starting her business now that her kids are heading to college.  “I was thrilled to move back to Seattle,” says Alisa.  “This has been a great place to raise 3 children, and this is where I wanted to start a business.”  Alisa noted, however, that Seattle’s high cost of living, combined with an income tax, might ultimately make Seattle unaffordable.  “If Seattle is successful with an income tax, it’s inevitable that it will be applied to families at all income levels. We can start a business here or we can start a business in a neighboring city. I don’t think the city council appreciates the that they are creating barriers to new businesses.”
  • Lien Dang.  Lien has owned a restaurant in Seattle’s International District since 1993. Her restaurant employs 7 people. Lien and her two grown children have been active in the Seattle community for many years. “I live in Newcastle, so I won’t be hit by Seattle’s income tax,” said Lien. “But the city council has said many times that their goal is to promote a tax beyond Seattle.  I also believe that they will expand this tax to lower income levels. It’s bad for the city. It’s bad for businesses. And it’s bad for jobs.”
  • Kerry Lebel.  Originally from Illinois, Kerry moved to the Seattle area in 1999, and has worked for several local technology companies over the last two decades.  Kerry lives in University Place, and commutes over 2 hours per day to get to and from his job in Seattle.  “I would love to live closer to my job, and I’ve recently considered moving to Seattle so I can get part of my day back for other activities,” says Kerry. “But right now, moving to Seattle means the possibility of paying additional taxes. To those of us trying to move closer to our jobs, that’s a huge disincentive.”
  •  Dorothy Sale.  Dorothy bought her home in Ravenna in 1967 for $18,500, and has lived there and paid property taxes for the last 50 years. Now 98, Dorothy retired from her job at the University of Washington in 1983. Living on a state pension and limited social security, she currently qualifies for reduced property taxes as a low-income property owner. Dorothy may need to rely on the money she earns from the sale of her home if she requires assisted living or nursing care in the future. She opposes taxing the real estate gains of Seattle residents of modest means who have lived in their homes for decades.