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Tag: Bill Gates Sr.


The short shelf life of initiatives

Leave it to Tim Eyman – a guy who devotes his life to convincing voters and donors that changing state law via the ballot box is a good idea – to point out that citizen initiatives really don’t have much staying power. Eyman sent this transcript of yesterday’s press conference on Initiative 1077, which we commented on here.

Bryan Johnson, KOMO TV asks: “Does anyone have to fear soon this (income tax threshold) will creep to above $150,000, and then above $100,000, and then everybody pays?”

Bill Gates Sr. responds: “Uhh, the, the initiative provides that the rates

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New talk about a state income tax

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Taxes are best spread like peanut butter, wide and thin, across the economy.

The wide part argues for a state income tax, which theoretically would allow for reductions in Washington’s sales, property and business taxes. It’s obviously not a good idea to penalize shopping, job creation or home-ownership by making them excessively expensive.

It’s the thin part that has always gotten income tax proposals in trouble in this state. Historically, Washingtonians simply don’t trust lawmakers to ratchet down other taxes to the extent that they ratchet up taxes on income. Initiative 1077, which would package an income tax as a squeeze-the-rich plan, is already running afoul of this ingrained suspicion.

Bill Gates Sr. – patriarch of a notably comfortable family – is championing the initiative campaign on a sort of Nixon-to-China basis. He’s a poster child of the upper-income brackets I-1077 would target: The measure would impose a 5 percent tax on individuals earning between $200,000 and $500,000 a year, and 9 percent on income above that.

For a much broader class of Washingtonians, there’s a sweetener: a 20 percent rollback in the state’s share of the property tax.

But the initiative also comes festooned with a pre-painted bull’s eye, which opponents are already zeroing in on. No initiative can amend the Washington Constitution; I-1077 can only create statute. A statute can be changed down the road at the whim of the Legislature.
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