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Gates, Gorton to debate income tax in Tacoma

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm with 21 Comments »
September 28, 2010 2:08 pm

In this cor-ner retired Seattle lawyer and dunk-tank victim, Bill “Tax-Me” Gates Sr. In the other cor-ner, former United States Sen. Slade Gorton. The two political heavyweights will square off in what is already being billed as “The Great State Income Tax Debate” Oct. 11 at the University of Washington Tacoma.

The subject of course is Initiative 1098, the November ballot initiative that would impose an income tax on higher earners while reducing some other taxes. The event is free, but seating is limited: For tickets, click here.

UPDATE: Mike Bay at TVW says they will tape the debate and broadcast it initially on Thursday Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.  

Here’s the press release from UWT:

Slade Gorton and Bill Gates Sr., to debate income tax initiative

EVENT: The Great State Income Tax Debate

LOCATION: UW Tacoma, Philip Hall

DATE: Oct. 11

TIME: Doors open: 5:30 p.m.; Debate: 6:00-7:30 p.m.; Reception: 7:30-8:30 p.m.

TOPIC: Two senior statesmen make the case for and against state Initiative 1098, the “income tax initiative” headed for the November ballot.

SPEAKERS: Bill Gates Sr. (in favor) and Slade Gorton (opposed)

John Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, will serve in a supporting role for Gates

SPONSORS: The League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County, City Club of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, UW Tacoma’s Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences


Ballot Title Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1098 concerns establishing a state income tax and reducing other taxes.

Concise Description: This measure would tax “adjusted gross income” above $200,000 (individuals) and $400,000 (joint-filers), reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would establish a tax on “adjusted gross income” (as determined under the federal internal revenue code) above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples or domestic partners filing jointly; reduce the limit on statewide property taxes by 20%; and increase the business and occupation tax credit to $4,800. The tax revenues would replace revenues lost from the reduced levy and increased credit; remaining revenues would be directed to education and health services.

Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. tree_guy says:

    I’m really getting tired of the Pro-1098 TV ads with the condescending old geezer Bill Gates Sr. giving us his POV. He never once mentions the term “income tax.” Aye, a crafty old coot he is indeed.

  2. PumainTacoma says:

    Sorry we don’t go out anymore. Too many darn taxes eating us up. Prices on dinner menus are up 20% been to Tides lately? Who can afford to go anywhere. Read the editorial this afternoon about $11M in pay raises for Tacoma…start eating ramen. This city and county are out of control. Spend thrifts and greed eating my pay check. How can anyone save for retirement. No more. Converted Tea Party members unite!!!!

    And Mr. Gates can give away his money and STOP telling me to give my hard earn cash for my retirement away!!! Buzz off Gates.

  3. lucysmom says:

    Really? Really? tree_guy and PumainTacoma, you gross more than $200,000 a year? I sure don’t. I like that Mr. Gates realizes that with riches comes responsibility. It seems to me that the Gates-like thinkers are concerned about us middle and lower class poor folk. Reducing property taxes? Yes, please. Ask the rich to contribute more to the society that allowed them to prosper? Sounds like a better plan than the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, which is what will continue to happen if we don’t wise up.

  4. t_Johnson says:

    Gates’ are a bunch of liberals.

  5. dankuykendall says:

    You don’t make $200,000 this year but if passed can be adjusted to tax everyone in 2 years. How much you gonna pay then? Reduce property tax, by 6% maybe as the state only gets that much. Do some math and read some more before agreeing to a tax on the rich because the rest of us are right behind them.
    Gates Sr has advocated for a state income tax for years. It is just a pig in a poke as none of us will get a break as the result of this.

  6. Get it thru your thick skulls no new taxes. Today the rich, tomorrow the rest of us. Create a few jobs, be more friendly to business. It will provide more tax revenue and get big inefficient government off our backs.

  7. headshaker says:

    haha, good one. Seriously, the rich people I know all talk like TPs here…. a lot of them try the “it’s my money, other people should make more.” Rich people generally think, in these times, the 3% bump from letting the Bush cuts lapse will kill them. And this–how big a chunk out of a family earning half a mil? Here’s a serious idea, let’s hear a better one if you don’t like it.

  8. ” I like that Mr. Gates realizes that with riches comes responsibility. It seems to me that the Gates-like thinkers are concerned about us middle and lower class poor folk.” Mr. Gates isn’t concerned about anyone but himself, much less you. Don’t be fooled and don’t trust our “lawmakers”. In 2 years they’ll lower the threshold and raise the margins. They do it time and again. we now have to force them to do what we want. They just will not learn.

  9. BruslSprt says:

    When I see that more then 80% of the comments are all one sided and they all profess to be looking out for the under $200/400k folks, I know that the issue has really struck a nerve in the right wing ($200/400k) folks that are going to be the targets of the tax. I’m so glad you have the poor folks interests at heart. Bless your greedy little hearts. Keep up the good work Mr Gates.

  10. webtimes22 says:

    To lucysmom, you do need to read more about this tax. First, if only reduces a portion of the state share of property tax. This does not mean you overall tax rate will necessarily go down if you are in a max tax area, because when the state tax goes down, this makes more room for counties, cities, fire districts, library districts, park districts, school districts, or other tax districts to add more on their rate. This tax raises Billons more to spend and only about 28 percent of this new tax is slated for tax reduction (for the first two years.)
    An alternative?

    1. In theory, you could close the entire budget gap by implementing the Auditor’s recommendations (about 3 billion!?!).

    2. Prioritize spending based on governments required duties first.
    We have been adding 2.5-3 Billion dollars to our state budget each year for the last few years. A real solution would be to stop lying to ourselves about revenues and growth and cut agencies and services to what is needed and then see what new revenue would be needed (if any). Then and ONLY then should any new revenues be considered.

  11. tree_guy says:

    “Bless your greedy little hearts” brusselsprout

    Let’s stop berating and punishing people who are willing to work a little harder and a little bit more productively than the average person. Earning money is not usually thought of as a bad thing in a capitalist society. These high income earners buy lots of luxury products and services which keep many middle class people employed. Does anyone really want to put a stop to that?

  12. You and I have previously exchanged comments regarding wages, tree_guy. You’re generally on the side of lowering wages, especially the minimum wage.

    You seem to be talking out of the other side of your mouth on this issue when you say, “Earning money is not usually thought of as a bad thing in a capitalist society.”

    Who are these people who, “work a little harder and a little bit more productively than the average person?”

  13. The only thing 1098 does, if it passes, is open the income tax door for everyone! The premise is that you will pay lower property for 2 years,then get hit with higher property taxes plus the income taxes you voted in for your selves will reach sky high proportions.Once the income tax is voted in,you can bet the politicos will be dancing in the streets! Do not let this happen to the State! The rich can afford these outrageous taxes,but how about the not so well off folks?? Keep this wolf away from your door,before it gets in to rule your household!!!!!

  14. BruslSprt says:

    I’m not against earning as much money as one can, but what is not fair as Warren-Buffet admits, is when he pays 15% or less in income tax on his millions and one of his secretaries pays about 23% or more of her wages in income tax. Is wanting a more equitable tax structure punishing the rich and giving a break to the blue/white collar workers? Are they/we not working as hard?

  15. DubyaFTW says:

    Mmmm… smell the class envy. Smells like urine. Nothing more petty than someone who’s bitter about the fact that they didn’t get up off their duff and make something of the incedible advantages they got just by being born in this country. What’s that? You say it makes you happy when other people are in punished for working harder than you? You just wanted security and freebies and bennies? Phew! Urine!

    This should be interesting. Two out of touch rich people arguing whether or not the rest of us should have more of our money taken away (yes, you all will be paying income tax in two years when this passes.) Idiots!

  16. This is a typical political power grab from the left. They have mastered the art of exploiting the uninformed public. They promise you gifts in lowering your property tax to receive in return the POWER to impose an income tax on ALL in a couple years. Yes, this includes the middle class and lower class that a few of you claim Gates is “looking out for.” OPEN YOUR EYES AND READ THE SMALL PRINT. Don’t always believe what some campaign commercial claims. Take some initiative and research it further to find the truth or simply verify the facts.

    The amount you save on property taxes in two years will amount to no more than pocket change in comparison to the income taxes you’ll be paying the rest of your life. Think about it.

  17. tree_guy says:

    “what is not fair as Warren-Buffet admits, is when he pays 15% or less in income tax on his millions and one of his secretaries pays about 23% or more of her wages in income tax” bruslsprt

    I would suggest if this discrepancy in tax rates bothers Mr. Buffet than perhaps we should lower the tax rate that his secretary pays by 8%. Why does the discrepancy have to be remedied by raising the more productive persons tax rate?

  18. tree_guy says:

    “You’re generally on the side of lowering wages, especially the minimum wage.” polago

    To be more precise, I would favor eliminating the minimum wage and allowing the marketplace to set wage levels. I’m not in favor of low wages, I am in favor of permitting employers to offer wages at what ever rate makes sense to them.

  19. I must be the envy of you all. I pay NO Income tax!!!
    Of course my $40,000/ year comes from VA Disability, L&I Disability and Social Security. They are all exempt from Income taxes. Of course, I get Medicare to cover my many medical expenses related to the huge hunks of metal in my back and the loss of feeling in my legs.
    It’s GREAT living on the Gov’t DOLE and getting free stuff like pain medication and canes. I also get to park closer to the door than the rest of you working slobs.
    Of course, my family has no Health Care Plan. We don’t qualify because I make too much. Which means my wife’s Diabetes Care is paid out of pocket, as are all her medications at nearly $250 a month. As for her Arthritic knees, well, she’s already closer to the door with me in the car. She won’t use the free carts at Costco because she doesn’t want to be the recipient of “those” looks. You know the ones. She’s only 50 so she doesn’t qualify for Medicare. She stayed at home and raised our kids instead of leaving them at daycare and teaching. “Housewife” doesn’t count as “work” when trying to get Medicare.
    Do you people think that all these “Tax Dollars” that YOU pay go to pay for deadbeats and people just laying around cashing a monthly check? I’m grateful for what I have and wish that I could work. I’d gladly pay MORE taxes, because now, I know that at the other end of that Tax Dollar is some poor bastard that’s in WORSE shape than I am. He needs every penny that he gets and more. He needs the compassion of his fellow Americans. Quit bitching about the money you pay out in taxes. DO something to rid the system of graft and waste. Sales Taxes HURT people like me, because it adds another % to EVERYTHING

  20. Sales Taxes are a burden to the Poor.
    Why should Gates pay the same tax as me, with NO other taxes on the billions that he makes?
    I get around $40,000/year from disability. Yes, it’s “tax free”. I’d rather work. My family gets NO Health Care benefit, No Life Insurance, Dental Plan, 401-k, or any other benefit.
    A FAIR Income Tax is needed to take the burden off of those who end up paying more through Sales Taxes than those who have more income. Senator Rosa Franklyn had proposed a plan for several years that was fair and equitable and would have worked. If our State had a fair Income -based tax system, we wouldn’t be having the budget problems that we are having now and they wouldn’t be reliant upon a public that is spending less.
    Any project that is proposed and to be paid for by increasing the Sales Tax will get 5 NO votes in this LIBERAL house. It’s nearing 10% and that is beyond the point of irresponsibility.

  21. gotcha123 says:

    Our state needs to have Charter Schools. I am aware the Unions thru a ton of money at this to have it overturned in the past.

    The old Democratic party has been hijacked by Socialist and Marxist that have changed their name to Progressives in order to make their agenda sound more politically correct…We need to defeat all measures that would inhance their cause while we still have a voting privlage. Vote NO on I-1098.

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