This Week in Seattle: Income tax faces legal challenge, new distracted driving law, and more

This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

Seattle mayoral candidates debate, answer questions from tech industry

The top six candidates for Seattle mayor took the stage Monday in the race’s only televised debate, co-hosted by GeekWire, KING 5, KUOW, and CityClub. GeekWire separately opened up the discussion to each of the 21 candidates running, asking them six questions that we drafted with help from the tech community. The Washington Technology Industry Association also released an assessment of candidates based on tech policy issues this week. Ballots for the primary are due August 1. [GeekWire]

Seattle income tax faces first legal challenge

The Seattle City Council approves historic income tax on the wealthy. (Flickr Photo / SeattleCityCouncil)

Michael Kunath, an investment manager who lives in Magnolia, filed the first lawsuit against Seattle’s new income tax. He claims the city’s plan to levy a 2.25 percent tax on income over $250,000 breaks state law, which currently says local jurisdictions can’t tax net income. City lawmakers expected a legal challenge when they drafted the income tax proposal; it is intended to be a test case. Kunath’s suit probably won’t be the last legal challenge to the tax, which Mayor Ed Murray signed into law this week. [Q13]

New distracted driving law takes effect Sunday

Drivers in Washington state are encouraged to put their phones out of reach while driving. (Bigstock Photo / Jessmine)

Starting Sunday, you could be fined $136 for using your phone while driving. If you’re caught a second time, that bumps up to at least $272. The penalties are part of a new law that prohibits drivers from using their phones for anything — calling, texting, Snapchatting, etc.). There are a few exceptions: you can use one finger to answer or hang up a call and you can contact emergency services if needed. State law already prohibited calling and texting while driving but the new ordinance expands to all of the other things you might do on your phone. [GeekWire]

The day tripper’s guide to Seattle

Seattle Pike Place Market clock
Pike Place Market. (Photo by Erik Stuhaug / Imagebank)

Everyone wants to visit Seattle in summer. When our soggy city dries out, visitors can truly appreciate the urban evergreens, mountain ridge horizons, and sparkling bodies of water. But helping out-of-towners experience all that Seattle has to offer isn’t an easy task. That’s why the Seattle Post-Intelligencer created a handy guide for Seattleites welcoming visitors, broken up into geographic chunks so you don’t find yourself trying to get from Pike Place market to the Ballard Locks during rush hour. [Seattle P.I.]

Lawmakers Olympia fails to pass $4B construction budget

The state Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Photo via Flickr).

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over a $4 billion capital budget broke down Thursday, the close of the state’s third special legislative session. The budget would have provided new funds for school construction, local water and sewage projects, and mental health facilities across Washington. The deal fell apart because of a dispute over a state Supreme Court decision that limits the use of domestic wells in some rural areas to protect existing water use rights. Gov. Jay Inslee said he will not call another overtime session without a realistic plan to pass a capital budget. [The Seattle Times]