It seems like a sure victory for proponents of Initiative 1098, a state ballot initiative that would subject a few wealthy individuals to a state income tax for the first time. Washington is one of only seven states without an income tax.
The initiative, if passed, would tax the wealthy Washingtonians like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), and other very successful corporate leaders. Who could possibly vote no, especially in a state known for left-of-center politics and home to the liberal urban epicenter known as Seattle?
The Washington Examiner has an excellent piece on the wisdom shown by voters who defeated the initiative by a wide margin.
Here are a few select quotes from the article.
The political math was simple and should have been fool-proof: Proponents of a high-earner income tax in the state of Washington needed only a majority of voters to approve a tax on a tiny minority of their peers.
After all, Initiative 1098, which would have imposed a 5 percent tax on the adjusted gross income of individuals who earn more than $200,000 — or $400,000 for couples — and a 9 percent tax on the AGI of individuals who earn more than $500,000 — or $1 million for couples — would have affected barely more than 1 percent of the state population.
But this week, more than 65 percent of Washington voters cast their ballots against I-1098.
“The voters overwhelmingly agreed that this tax would likely be expanded,” said Scott Stanzel, Defeat 1098 campaign manager. “The fundamental issue in this fight was that people didn’t trust the politicians to not expand it to them.”
“The public very much wants to see governments try to get their fiscal house in order on the spending side and just make really concerted efforts at that before they tackle the tax side,” he said.
Washington voters showed rare political acumen in rejecting Initiative 1098. Politicians have proven incapable of leaving taxes at one place and always expand them. For example, millions of Americans are now subject to Federal AMT (alternative minimum tax) that was originally designed to tax a couple hundred wealthy citizens living off dividend and interest income.
Hopefully political leaders across this country recognize their constituents’ interest in reducing government expenses and taxes.
By the way, Washington attempted passing an income tax by ballot initiative in 1932, but it was ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court in 1933!
Here is the main ad in favor of the initiative:
Here is the main ad opposing the initiative: