As far as initiative politics, it doesn’t get much better than this: former U.S. senator Slade Gorton and Seattle attorney Bill Gates Sr. will face off tonight in a debate over I-1098, the high-earner income tax measure, at UW Tacoma.
Unfortunately, the event is booked up. But we’ll be there tonight and have a full report online this evening and in tomorrow’s print edition. You can also watch a live webcast on TVW’s website starting at 6 p.m. tonight. TVW will also carry the debate on its broadcast channel Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Gates has emerged as chief spokesman for the initiative, which would create an income tax income tax for those earning more than $200,000 individually or $400,000 as a couple, while lowering state property taxes. The Herald covered a Gates-Gorton I-1098 debate in Edmonds last week. An excerpt:
Attorney William Gates Sr., father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, told a crowd at Edmonds Community College that Initiative 1098 would provide money for priorities that Washington’s leaders have failed to support.
“This seems to me an opportunity to step up and do something about the funding for education and health care,” Gates said.
Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., countered that the initiative would sap the state economy and, paradoxically, leave less money for education.
“What happens when states go down that road is they lose ground, they lose money, they lose income,” Gorton said.