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First but not last? Lawsuit filed against Seattle’s tax on high income earners

SEATTLE — Attorneys have filed the first of many possible lawsuits against Seattle’s plan to tax high income earners, the city attorney’s office confirmed Friday.

Attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of investment manager Michael Kunath on July 14, just minutes after Mayor Ed Murray signed the ordinance with little fanfare.

The suit alleges the city’s plan to levy a 2.25 percent tax on all income over $250,000 breaks state law prohibiting cities from collecting taxes on net income.

Both city attorney Pete Holmes and Kunath’s attorney, Matthew Davis, said they expect this lawsuit to be the first of many.

“We expected a suit would be filed,” Holmes said, reiterating the ordinance was drafted in such a way to defend any suit brought.

The tax will be levied on Aug. 13, 30 days after the ordinance was signed. Davis said his suit does not seek an injunction to stop the tax immediately, because it wouldn’t be collected until April 2018.

Though Davis says no other suits have been filed, he expects others to join the effort.

“It’s extraordinarily likely these suits will be consolidated,” Davis said.

According to a LinkedIn page, Kunath is a principal at financial management group Kunath Karren Rinne & Atkin, LLC. The firm specializes in investment and risk management. He lives in Magnolia.

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.