Seattle to pay up to $250,000 to defend new city income tax

SEATTLE -- Seattle has agreed to pay a law firm up to $250,000 to help defend the city's new income tax on wealthy households.

Our news partner The Seattle Times reported Thursday that City Attorney Pete Holmes has turned to Seattle-based Pacifica Law Group, agreeing to pay three Pacifica attorneys rates of $495, $285 and $265 per hour with the firm agreeing to charge no more than $250,000 in total.

Proponents knew the income tax would end up in court. They see the Seattle measure as a test case that could lead to a fairer tax system statewide and estimate it can raise about $140 million per year.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the measure since the City Council approved it and Mayor Ed Murray signed it last month, with conservative heavyweights such as former Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna lining up against it.