Posted at 9:38 a.m. and updated with comments from Paul Allen's spokesman.
Paul Allen, the chairman of Vulcan, has donated $100,000 to the campaign to block an income tax for the wealthiest people in the state, new records from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission show (.pdf). Initiative 1098 would impose an income tax on individuals making over $200,000 a year to pay for health care and education.
Washington state has the most regressive tax structure in the country. The poor pay 17.3 percent of their income in taxes while the rich pay only 2.6 percent of their income in taxes. Not. Fucking. Fair.
Paul Allen is worth an estimated $16 billion. But he's such a greedy, poor-hating, anti-education miser that he's willing to fuck over the state because he's such a greedy, poor-hating, anti-education miser.
Fuck Paul Allen.
UPDATE: Paul Allen doesn’t support regressive taxation and he doesn’t have a miserly soul made of carbon, says his spokesman David Postman, when asked why the Vulcan chairman donated to the No on I-1098 campaign. “We agree it is a regressive tax system” in Washington state, he says, but this initiative “is not a good fix to the regressive system we have.”
The problem isn’t what happens to the poor now; it’s what I-1098 would do to people who make over $200,000 a year. “If this passes, you have the fifth highest marginal tax… in the United States,” Postman notes. Moreover, the measure would create an income tax with no deductions for charitable contributions, he continues; government cutbacks require the private sector to compensate with charitable contributions. To that end, Allen has been a major northwest philanthropist (more than $1 billion in his lifetime). But some wonder if that’s enough for a man with so much dough.
Asked if Allen has ever directed his vast philanthropy to reform the tax structure he purportedly opposes, Postman says, “Not that I am aware of… I am not suggesting he is a tax reform activist. He does not think this is a good initiative.”
Another reason Allen opposes I-1098: We can’t trust the legislature to use the money the way voters want. Although the funds from I-1098 are collected in the state's Education Legacy Trust Fund, which is directed exclusively to education and health care, there is a caveat. The legislature can, if it elects to, siphon that money into the general fund for other expenses. And that’s exactly what the legislature has done before, Postman says. “History shows us... the legislature changes it every singe time.”