As recent reports from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission show, the Microsoft corporation has donated $75,000 to the campaign trying to block Initiative 1098, and company CEO Steve Ballmer has donated another $325,000 to defeat the measure (he's now given $425,000 altogether).
Never mind that this makes Ballmer, Microsoft, and the company's cadre of wealthy executives look like greedy schmucks—and this does make Microsoft look like a bastion for greedy schmucks—here's why you should care. Whenever Microsoft claims—as it does right here on its website and in its endless press briefings on the subject—that "Microsoft’s top public priority within Washington State has been our work to strengthen public education at both the K-12 and the higher education levels," you can say "no."
You can say, "No, Microsoft, you disingenuous hypocrites, public education isn't your top priority in Washington state."
Because if education funding was Microsoft's top priority, it would be flat on the other side of this campaign, giving money to pass I-1098. The measure—if Microsoft doesn't kill it—will "generate a net increase in state revenue of $11.16 billion over five calendar years to be used exclusively for education and health services," according to the official forecast by the the state's Office of Financial Management.
Nothing that Microsoft does currently comes anywhere close to compensating for the billions of dollars this measure would deliver to K-12 and higher education in this state. Programs like helping students with math—to reverse a brain drain from the state, which Microsoft is purportedly concerned about—can't compare to Microsoft's fight against public education.