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Seattle sanctuary city under threat

Legal defenses first. Tax increases if necessary?

Tiffany Von Arnim

Seattle is a Sanctuary City. Back before the election we reported that the city;

“...passed an ordinance in 2003 that bars police offices from inquiring into a person’s immigration status without a reasonable suspicion that they either committed a felony or may have been previously deported.“

The Seattle Weekly’s headline frames that issue nicely;

Trump Orders Funding Cuts to Sanctuary Cities, Promising a Showdown With Seattle

Under threat is the roughly $80M Seattle receives as federal aid. Eighty million dollars is a lot of money for a city that has fewer than 700,000 citizens, but it is also about 1.4 percent of the city’s $5.6B budget.

The mayor and various elected officials are confirming that they intend to defend the city’s status as a sanctuary.

One option is to increase taxes sufficiently to cover the costs. Considering Seattle’s real estate market, it is logical that some will propose increasing real estate taxes. But, Seattle doesn’t collect real estate taxes. King County does, and collects a lot of them, about $4.5B of them in 2016. Whether the voters in King County would increase taxes to aid Seattle and other local sanctuary cities is something that would be determined by another election. (Keep in mind, no election has been unanimous.)

The issue may be moot. Executive Orders can be powerful, but implementing them takes more than a signature. Legal challenges, including Constitutional challenges, will undoubtedly be initiated. Expect Seattle to be in the headlines in this battle between the two Washingtons.