The case for the Washington State income-tax initiative (by the numbers) begins with this image:

  • Aaron Huffman

What the image tells you:

Washington State has the most regressive taxes of any state in the country. In Washington, poor people pay 17.3 percent of their income in taxes, while the filthy rich pay only 2.6 percent of their income in taxes. This is the result of our state's heavy reliance on the sales tax, which accounts for over 50 percent of all state revenue. Imagine two families, one rich and one poor, going to the same store and buying the same basket of goods and subjected to the same sales tax. For the poor family, it's a much heavier burden than for the rich family. The sensible way to even out the tax burden is to tax income, like most other states. But Washington doesn't have an income tax. Never has. Hence our status as a national embarrassment—more regressive on taxes than even Texas or Georgia.

The rest of the case—involving a pyramid of Washington wealth, a bar graph of trickle up economics, some frightening percentages, and a fight between Bill Gates Sr. and Frank Blethen—is HERE.