Respected businessman Bill Gates Sr. and some veteran political progressives will reveal Wednesday if they will pursue an initiative for the November ballot to create an income tax on the state’s highest wage-earners.
Their “Tax Reform Initiative Announcement” will be made at 10 a.m. at Soho Coffee at 1918 E Yesler Way in Seattle.
To qualify, they must turn in 241,153 signatures of registered voters by 5 p.m. July 2.
(As an aside, they could decide to re-file this measure as an initiative to the Legislature. By doing that, they would have until Dec. 31 to get the same number of signatures. Then the Legislature, rather than voters, could adopt it next year. If lawmakers don’t act, the measure would go on the November 2011 ballot.)
According to its authors, Initiative 1077:
would cut the state property tax by 20 percent, eliminate the B&O tax for small business, and create an income tax on high incomes — couples earning more than $400,000 per year ($200,000 for individuals). While cutting taxes for most Washington State households, such a measure would raise an estimated $1 billion per year dedicated to funding education and health care.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, it will be described on a ballot this way:
Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1077 concerns taxation.
Concise Description: This measure would tax “adjusted gross income” above $400,000 joint ($200,000 individual), reduce the state property tax levy, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]
Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would establish a tax on “adjusted gross income,” as determined under the federal internal revenue code, above $400,000 for married couples filing jointly, and above $200,000 for individuals; reduce the state property tax levy by 20%; and increase the business and occupation tax credit to $4,800. Revenues from this measure would first replace revenues lost from the reduced levy and increased credit. Any remaining revenues would be earmarked for education and health services.