Seattle's new income tax on the wealthy is expected to draw a quick legal challenge — and the debate is already raging on the web.

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On Monday, Seattle passed an historic tax on some of the city’s richest residents, drawing a firestorm of reaction on both sides of the debate.

The controversial measure, which was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council, would levy a 2.25 percent tax on income above $250,000 a year for individuals and above $500,000 for couples — in a city wrestling with staggering economic growth and an increasing divide between the rich and the poor.

Lauded by people who have long said Seattle’s tax system is among the most regressive  and least transparent in the nation, the measure made headlines nationwide and drew swift reaction. It is expected to face a legal challenge.

Social-media reaction

The news was widely shared and drew swift and strong reactions. After the vote, Washington GOP chair Susan Hutchison denounced the measure, warning that it could be a precursor to a statewide income tax.

During her news conference in which she urged people to forcibly resist the tax, she could hardly be heard as supporters of the tax surrounded her and shouted, “Tax the rich!”

Here’s a sampling of posts from around the web:

The Times’ story was featured on the Drudge Report, a politically conservative link-aggregation website with a massive following. The site drove thousands of visitors to the Times — and many to its comment section.

The top comments on The Seattle Times story, which elicited more than 700 before 7 a.m. Tuesday, criticized the tax, like this one from user Independent_Thinker:
“There they are again – the “give me free stuff” crowd spending their time where it apparently has the highest return – lobbying council members to take from others.

I love the “tax unearned income” sign – written on cardboard, no less.  If returns on at-risk investments are “unearned,” how exactly would you characterize government handouts?
A more appropriate sign would say something like, “let’s take from earners, investors, and savers, and give to me!” At least then it would be honest.”

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Kshama Sawant, ardent supporters of the tax, broadcast their exaltation on their own Twitter accounts. “When we fight, we win,” crowed Sawant.