Well said, sir.

Now, tell your son to run over there and kick Steve Ballmer and the rest of the jackasses at Microsoft square in the balls for funding your opposition.
Thanks, Mr. Gates.

Can you provide some data on your statement: "we have the most unfair tax system in the nation, with the middle class paying four times the tax rate of the top one percent".

It's hard to pin down in simple terms what the tax rates between folks like me (married with less than $100k/year in income) versus, say, a married couple making $500k a year.
Yes! We have to overcome this inertia - this step away from regressive taxation is SO LONG OVERDUE.
You bozos never met a tax you didn't like.
reducing property taxes by $400 million annually and eliminating the Business & Occupation taxes for small businesses.
I give this a C, I guess.

Honestly, a significant number of voters, especially swing voters, don't understand what progressive tax and regressive tax mean, nor do they understand why progressive taxation is more fair, nor are they aware that there are no functioning, wealthy societies that do not use progressive taxation. They could also stand to be told that you have to travel to some of the worst-off countries in the world to find a flat tax system, and oddly enough, none of these hellholes is hotbed of innovation, entrepreneurship or wealth-creation, and rich, smart workers are not flocking there. Nor are highly paid, productive people fleeing progressive taxation. Quite the opposite.

Ideology and reality are in conflict here and you have to confront this wrongheaded ideology if you hope to fix our regressive tax structure.

Could try again and go for an A. Why not?
Wow, an elderly white man who is not evil. Whaddaya know.
This is a tax cut for actual WA small business owners (as measured by the Small Business division) and a tax refund for home owners.

Kudos, Mr. Gates!
"It is time for me—and other wealthy residents of Washington State—to start paying our share of taxes in order to improve our schools and better fund health care."

Last I checked, no one was stopping Mr. Gates from donating his considerable wealth to the charitable foundations of his choice. The idea that he somehow needs the state to forcibly separate him from his money rings hollow.
@9, Gates Sr. is one of the most generous charitable givers in this state's history. He puts his money where his mouth is. But you can't run a school system or a university system on charity.

The stupid thing is, this measure is probably going to fail even amongst people whose own tax bill would benefit directly from it.
Thank you Mr Gates!

Let's hope your reasoned voice and conscientious position will prevail over that of the short-sighted opposition!!

YES on I-1098!!
off topic, but do have to say that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does wonderful work
Mr. Gates' statement is valid. But it fails to address the public's concern that the State does not properly budget and spend tax-payer's dollars.

Most people distrust government's ability to spend wisely. Sadly, after the perception of mismanagement, the public no longer trusts our elected officials and government administration.

What is to assure the public that this extra tax revenue will be spent wisely?

What is to assure the public that this extra tax revenue will be spent wisely?

That's a fair question, really. We had a 10 year period of insanely high tax revenues and we basically spent that entire period using that money for vanity projects -- instead of rebuilding or expanding critical infrastructure.

The unfortunate reality there is that the only way to address that problem is for voters to pay more attention to and be more involved with what government in Washington is doing. What the Washington State government does is necessary and important. Cutting off its ability to raise taxes will destroy all that necessary and important work. It's a bit like schools -- if schools aren't doing a good job of educating kids, you don't defund them. If cops aren't doing a good job of keeping the streets safe, defunding them won't fix the problem. That tool is not designed to address that issue. The issue of government's conduct is meant to be addressed by informed voting, and a mobilized electorate.

Meanwhile, the state government still needs money, and this measure is an excellent step in the right direction on that issue.
@13: "The measure places all net a trust that politicians must spend on education and health care."
I agree we need reform. I do NOT agree that I-1098 is fair. It's not fair to single out a minority of citizens with a tax designed specifically for them. That kind of populist tyranny already exists in the federal income tax. The very rich shoulder a small percentage of the total burden. The very poor shoulder a small percentage of the total burden. And well paid individuals in the middle pick up the tab.

A fair, graduated tax for everyone that makes our tax contribution proportional to our earnings net of basic living expenses - that I could get behind. This "let's tax the people that no one feels sorry for" is opportunism masquerading as reform.
@17: Yes, it is opportunistic to tax people who can afford to pay. How astute.
@16 like the $5 to $10 tolls to use the Deeply-Bored Tunnel or the $4 per hour parking taxes to pay for that tunnel or the anticipated $10,000 per household taxes to pay for the tunnel that nobody in Seattle is actually going to use, since it has ZERO downtown exits?

You mean unfair like that?

Suck on it.
@2 and @16: The richest 1% in WA pay just 2.6% of their income in taxes, while the lowest income households pay more than 6 times as much - over 17% of their income - in taxes. No other state is as unbalanced - that is, regressive - as Washington. I-1098 is a small step toward rectifying that injustice.


@13: Initiative 1098 requires the state to prepare and post annual reports summarizing how funds are spent and the number of state residents benefited, as well as monthly reports on deposits, withdrawals, and fund balances. See page 2 (Section 202) of the initiative:…

Existing rules for the "education legacy trust fund" (established by Initiative 728), into which I-1098 education money will go, already require school districts to provide for citizen comment on planned distributions of funds and to report annually on how funds were used. I-1098 also requires any income tax rate increases to be approved by a vote of the people.

@14: Well said, spot on.
I-1098 -- like any other initiative -- can be overturned by the legislature in two years. What 1098 requires, allows, and decrees will all be moot in a few years anyway, except that it will have paved the way for expansion of an income tax.
Gates SR.
good idea from the heart but it misses the mark.

do a pie chart 3 slices;
-teacher and school admin,
-system admin, and
-pensions and other retirement benefits.

i would venture to guess the last two slices account for 65-80 percent of the pie. there is your work. go fix the pie get the first slice up to say half or 2/3 by reducing the other two. then you will not need money and will have secured the future for the kids.

for God's sake don't, as you suggest " all net revenue—$2 billion a year—in a trust that politicians must spend..." If you do that you might as well take the money and throw it away. politicians will simply create more admin, pensions, bloat. then you won't need 2 b but 6 b..

if they have it they are programmed to spend it or lose it so they spend..

gates SR. good idea and well intentioned but under baked--trust the people giving the money let them be the committee that examines the budgets and mandates the pie slices get back in step.

be well, but think about what you suggest--it is a loser.
Mr. Gates, thank you. I have just voted for I-1098.
Message fail. Too wonky, factual, full of numbers and abstractions. You need a story. Tell a story of a family making $25K and the food they gave up, or the community college tuition they gave up to pay that 17% state and local, and how their cousins in oregon didn't have to give up community college because instead of paying $4K in state and local they only paid $2K. How'd Oregon make it up? Taxing ... Paul Allan for his income as owner of whatever. Or the columbia sportswear lady, whatever. Tell the story of the Gateses. My granpa got hit with federal income tax starting in 1916 and thru the 1970s paid a marginal rate of 70% -- but we didn't care, we were still rich! I got rich! I have paid in my life a total of $15 million in taxes, I am still rich, I ski at Sun Valley. BTW saw Steve Ballmer over there last winter, here's his story. HE through in $200K to oppose 1098. But he doesn't care becauase he makes $5 million a year. And look this only taxes him $450K whatever -- he still will be skiing at sun valley 30 days a year. But it takes us 225 families like Jenny's -- each one paying an extra $2K, not sending their daughter to community college -- so that Steve Ballmer saves $450K he doesn't need and doesn't even spend. Make it a story about Jenny and her daughter, and Steve Ballmer and his daughter. For christ sake STOP with the intellectual graduate school approach to messaging!
So, hypothetically, if my wife and I bring in $400,000 this year, we have to write a check to the state for $20,000. But if we make $399,999, we're off the hook?

Well that sure does make sense!

I foresee a lot of charities receiving a lot big checks this December.
Oops, since the tax is based on adjusted gross income, charitable giving isn't considered.So, if anything, this tax will reduce charitable contributions.


Wrong. Obviously the campaign has failed in telling the public how it works. the tax is on the excess over the thresshold, in this case 400K minus 400K equals ZERO so the tax on zero dollars is ZERO you big fat ZERO.

If you earn $401,000 then the tax (what is it, nine percent? four? whatever) is only on the 1,000 over 400,000.

So at no point do you take home less, by making more money.

Got it?

BTW the notion that people live their lives by tax rules is wrong. NYC has its own 4 % income tax on top of a stiff NYS income tax and it seems to be crowded with rich people. And some people give to charities because....they like the charities, mmm?

You have made two bogus arguments in a row.

@25, 26 - look up the concept of marginal tax rates. It's not hard math.
@26: Oh noes! Not charitable contributions! You mean to tell me that the uber-wealthy won't be able to sit at 500 person banquets eating rubber chicken and blathering on about how important they are while they cut their five figure checks to blue-blooded causes no one actually cares about?

In any event, charities, in general, make most of their money from small and medium donors. Large donors are an important part of the pie, but this increase in taxes on the ultra-rich isn't likely to so significantly impact their bottom lines that they'll discontinue giving at a level sufficient keep the doors open at the charities they're supporting. No, I think they'll find the money for it. Just a little belt-tightening...

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