Washington voters have historically rejected a state income tax.
This issue is once again on the ballot but with a twist. Instead of calling for all to pay an income tax, Initiative 1098 singles out the "rich" to pay the tax.
We find this proposal unfair and, ultimately, bad for Washington state.
I-1098 would tax "adjusted gross income" above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples, reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes and then direct any increased revenues to education and health.
But for how long?
We fear once an income tax is in place it will eventually be imposed on everyone. The tax imposed on the rich today could easily be a tax on the middle class tomorrow. Promises made can too easily be ignored by future legislators.
Even if this income tax would tax only the rich, we still have concerns.
We don't like the class politics. The message being sent with a wink and a nod is that the income tax is directed at the filthy rich (them) while giving a tax break to good, hard-working people (us).
As we said when Oregon engaged in class politics to impose a tax on the wealthy, taxing the rich and tossing a penny to the poor (metaphorically speaking) isn't the answer.
Those who have substantial earnings are often very productive people. Many own businesses and others are doctors, lawyers and other professionals we need for vital services. An income tax on the wealthy will force them out of the state, hurting the economy.
This income tax plan isn't right for Washington. We urge a no vote on I-1098.