Washington state income tax – just say no

In November voters will be asked to approve a state income tax. Of course, liberal supporters of Initiative 1098 try never to call it an income tax. The group supporting the initiative call their effort, “Washingtonians for Education, Health and Tax Relief.” And their chief spokesperson, Bill Gates Sr., never mentions “income tax” in his ads, he calls it, “Good for Washington.”

There is no doubt that Washington’s tax system needs reform, but adding an income tax in exchange for a minimal reduction in state property tax is not going to get the job done. And this particular bill is just another liberal/progressive effort at utilizing class warfare to find ways to fund more of their profligate spending. The problem is that the budget crisis is more the result of uncontrolled spending than insufficient tax revenue. In fact since 2005 Democrats have increased state budget expenditures by 30 percent or about 3 times the rate of inflation. Giving lawmakers another way to reach into the wallets of hard working Washingtonians is not “good for Washington” it’s only good for spendthrift liberals.

This new tax is not about education. Liberals have found that promising voters this is for the “kids” will win voter approval. The fact is last year the state was successfully sued for not meeting its Constitutional mandate to properly fund basic education. What did Democrats and the Governor do? Cut state funds to public schools again. All of this is after increasing the number of state employees and giving state union employees a 5 percent wage increase. An increase that was five times higher than the rate of inflation.

The liberal media continue to spin this issue in the traditional “rich versus poor” manner. In fact last week the following headline appeared in the Seattle Times:

Wealthy contribute to defeat income tax

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, have lined up against an initiative that would create an income tax on the state’s wealthiest earners.

The headline and main premise of the story is classically disingenuous. It is true Ballmer and Bezos have contributed $100,000 each to defeat initiative 1098. What the article fails to mention is that Ballmer and Bezos contributions are typical of the largest contributions of those opposing the measure. But what about those supporting the measure? Toward the end of the article the writer mentions that supporters also include some “marque names of their own.” Seems that Bill Gates Sr. has single handedly contributed $500,000, and other wealthy individuals have made individual contributions that equal or exceed Ballmer and Bezos. But the biggest support comes from greedy public sector unions including the SEIU, NEA, WEA and Washington Federation of State Employees. Unions have donated nearly $1.9 million. That is 54 percent of the money raised to date in support of the measure. In other words, the largest contributors supporting the tax are those most likely to benefit from the new tax.

Liberals/Progressives are always quick to point out the corrupting influence of corporate money on politics. But where are their complaints when that money comes from the Government-Public Employee Union complex.

Truth is we all need to be a part of funding the government. Unless we are all impacted in some way then we will continue to allow self-serving politicians to divide us and establish policies that favor one group over another. And instinctively we all know that the groups being favored most often are those that can deliver the most votes to those who will twist the truth to maintain their hold on political power.

Do not be swayed by the slick promises to soak the rich in this campaign. Truth is that once an income tax has been approved, tax rates will be expanded and the definition of rich will continue to shrink until everyone is ultimately paying to feed the dragon. Olympia has already demonstrated its disdain for the will of the voters when it comes to tax policy numerous times. Let’s not give them another opportunity to prove how easily voters can be fooled.

We, as voters, need to recognize that continuing to allow incumbent politicians and their supporters to manipulate the truth with their political sound bites will only guarantee more of the same in the future. It is time to dump the liars and manipulators. We must get over this class warfare system of political posturing that has resulted in decades of bad economic policy. Those that have gotten us into this financial mess are the ones that need to go. Anyone, no matter how inexperienced would be a better choice this November.