Washington Income Tax, Initiative 1098 (2010)

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The Washington Income Tax Initiative, also known as Initiative 1098, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People, where it was defeated.[1][2] The measure would have established a tax on "adjusted gross income" above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples or domestic partners filing jointly. Additionally, the measure would have reduced the limit on statewide property taxes by 20% and increased the business and occupation (B&O) tax credit to $4,800.[3]

The revenue generated from the income tax would have gone to a dedicated trust fund for education and health services.[3][4] It was estimated that the proposed initiative would have generated $2 billion per year, according to the Office of Financial Management.[5][6]

Initiative 1098 was certified by the election officials on July 15, 2010 following a 3 percent random check. Of the 11,786 signatures reviewed, 10,090 were accepted.[7]

Election results

Washington Initiative 1098 (2010)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,616,27364.15%
Yes 903,319 35.85%

Election results via: Washington Secretary of State.

Text of measure

See also: Initiative 1098 full text

The ballot title read:[3]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1098 concerns establishing a state income tax and reducing other taxes.
Concise Description:This measure would tax “adjusted gross income” above $200,000 (individuals) and $400,000 (joint-filers), reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Summary

According to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State:

This measure would establish a tax on “adjusted gross income” (as determined under the federal internal revenue code) above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples or domestic partners filing jointly; reduce the limit on statewide property taxes by 20%; and increase the business and occupation tax credit to $4,800. The tax revenues would replace revenues lost from the reduced levy and increased credit; remaining revenues would be directed to education and health services. (REVISED by court order on 5-18-2010)

Background

Taxes on the ballot in 2010
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In 2010, at the time of the election, Washington was one of seven states in the country without a personal income tax. Voters had rejected attempts to establish a personal or corporate income tax five times; the last time being in the 1970s.[6] Washington's taxes came from two main sources: sales tax and business-and-occupation tax. A graduated income tax was enacted by an initiative in 1932. However, it was viewed as unconstitutional and thrown out by the Washington Supreme Court in 1933.[8]

Support

The campaign committee in support of Initiative 1098 was called "Yes on 1098."[9]

Seattle lawyer Bill Gates Sr. proposed I-1098. In mid-April 2010, during the launch of the campaign, Gates said, "We've talked about the need for tax reform in this state for too many years...Our tax code is unfair. It harms our economy and fails to provide the stable revenue we need for important state services, particularly priorities like education and healthcare... We can do better."[10] In a May 2010 interview, Gates said, "Poor people and middle-income people are paying too much to support the state and rich people aren’t paying enough. That’s the starting point for me."[11]

In response to opponents' claims that after two years the legislature "will extend the income tax to all," supporters first pointed out that, "I-1098 explicitly requires that the voters must approve any change to the income tax."[12][13][14] Second, they noted that the legislature had shown little will to raise broad-based taxes--the last state sales tax increase was in 1983.[15] Third, they argued that a move to extend the income tax would be politically suicidal.[16] Fourth, Governor Gregoire said that she would veto any attempt to extend the income tax beyond the very wealthy.[17] Fifth, the leading supporters of I-1098 pledged in a full-page ad in the Seattle Times that "in the unlikely event the Legislature attempts to broaden the income tax without a public vote, we will write, file and collect signatures for a ballot measure to ensure that the people have the final say on any change to this modest income tax on the very wealthy."[18]

The I-1098 campaign manager was Kelly Evans, who served as a campaign manager for a number of recent successful electoral campaigns, including running Governor Christine Gregoire’s re-election campaign in 2008.[19]

See also: A list of supporting organizations

Arguments

  • Don Barbieri, the Chairman of the Red Lion Hotels Corporation wrote in the Spokane Spokesman-Review that "Simply put, Red Lion and my predecessor companies weren’t a success because of my leadership. They prospered due to the great associates with whom I worked. It is their lives and their children’s futures that are at stake....Initiative 1098 provides the resources to make sure that our employees and their children have the same opportunities for education that we took for granted when we grew up. It ensures that the hundreds of thousands of unemployed who have lost health coverage in this recession can get basic health care....I-1098 is the shot in the arm we need to get our economy back on track."[20]
  • Nick Hanauer, a Seattle-based entrepreneur, venture capitalist and early investor in Amazon.com argued that "The state will benefit much more from the addition of school teachers than it will from me continuing to dump gas into my fancy private plane, if, if this tax even forced me to make that trade-off which it does not."[21]
  • The League of Women Voters of Washington endorsed I-1098 by saying, "Inequities in the distribution of the tax burden should be removed. Ability to pay is an important criterion. Flexibility and recognition of changing times and needs is important in tax policy. Income should be part of the tax base preferably through a graduated net income tax."[22]
  • Governor Chris Gregoire endorsed I-1098. She said, "I'm not a big proponent of an income tax. But Bill Gates Sr. came forward, and he said, 'You know what, the only way that I see us really getting adequate funding in our K-12 system is if we look to those who benefited the most from education...the wealthiest.' So he proposed an income tax only on the most wealthy in our state in order for us to be able to ensure that we've got adequate funding for K-12. ... I'm going to vote yes...because I can't figure any other way to pay for education in the state of Washington."[23]
  • In May 2010, the Washington Association of Churches (WAC) announced that it was joining the campaign in support of the tax initiative. According to reports, the association and the Lutheran Public Policy Office formed the Religious Coalition for Tax Reform.[24][25] In a statement, WAC said, "A tax system that increasingly shifts payment for state services onto low and middle income families is inconsistent with our religious commitment to serve the common good."[24]
  • The Washington PTA voted to support I-1098. They said, "When we worked to pass landmark education reform legislation in 2009, we made a commitment to help find the additional funding needed to support it. Because the initiative assures that seventy percent of the new revenue will be devoted to education, passage of this initiative would go a long way towards helping us fulfill this promise."[26]
  • Bill Clapp, a small businessman who supported I-1098 explained his position by saying "I don't want to be the one who walks into a classroom and says, 'Hey, bad news, guys. We've decided to take it out on you so we can teach the people in Olympia a lesson.' "[27]
  • In an Los Angeles Times article Gates said, "Some people say Initiative 1098 is about soaking the rich. But it's really about doing something for the next generation. You see, state cutbacks have put our kids at risk, and we can't just sit here and do nothing about it."[28]

Contributions

Below is a chart that outlines the top five cash and in-kind contributions to the Yes on 1098 campaign:[29]

Contributor Amount
Service Employees International Union (WA) $1,590,344
Service Employees International Union (D.C.) $1,000,000
National Education Association (D.C.) $759,033
Bill Gates, Sr. $600,000
Ann Wyckoff $500,000

Opposition

The campaign committee in opposition to Initiative 1098 was called "Defeat 1098". "We can't trust the politicians in Olympia with an income tax," says the campaign.[30] According to reports, Scott Stanzel ran the campaign to defeat I-1098. Previously, Stanzel was a political appointee under President George W. Bush and a public relations manager for Microsoft. Stanzel and opponents warned that the tax may eventually extend to all Washingtonians. "What is billed as a high-earners tax is simply a backdoor way of extending an income tax to all Washingtonians in the future," Stanzel said.[31]

The committee argued that there were no assurances the Washington State Legislature would't extend an income tax to everyone and pointed to approved initiatives that had later been changed by the legislature to back up their argument. It also argued that the collected revenue from the income tax wasn't guaranteed to be spent on education and health programs as outlined by supporters.[30][32] To back up that claim, they pointed out that in the last 20 years, 100% of dedicated funding initiatives had been modified by Olympia. They also pointed out that in the last ten years, Olympia had raided "dedicated" budget accounts 74 different times in order to transfer money to the general fund.[33]

Arguments

See also: More I-1098 opposition arguments
  • Former Washington Governor Dan Evans announced his opposition to I-1098 in an editorial that appeared in The Seattle Times on September 24th. In the editorial, Evans wrote, "We all love our state and want to know that our brightest days are ahead. ...Initiative 1098 fails as tax reform. True tax reform is comprehensive, constitutional, prioritized and fair. I-1098 is none of these. It is a tax increase, is not reform and should be defeated."[34]
  • News and radio broadcaster Ken Schram, a staunch Democrat, editorialized against I-1098 several times, even going so far as to call the initiative "absolutely nuts."[35]In a "Schram on the Street" video segment for KOMO 4 News, Schram said, "I'm a long-time advocate for tax reform - including a state income tax - and 1098 doesn't even come close."[36]
  • In a statement of opposition to I-1098, Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and senior vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs, said, "As an employer, we’re concerned that I-1098 will make it harder to attract talent and create additional jobs in Washington State. We strongly support public education, but we’re concerned by key details in I-1098. This initiative would give Washington one of the top five highest state income tax rates in the country. I-1098 would apply this tax rate to all income, including capital gains and dividends, and would not permit any deductions for charitable contributions."[37]
  • The Washington Farm Bureau, in a letter posted on its website, encouraged its members to vote against I-1098. The letter read, "Although the income threshold may not be met by many Farm Bureau members at this time, it is likely that once an income tax is in place the threshold would be lowered to include most, if not all, incomes."[38] The WSFB represents 36,000 ranch and farm families throughout Washington.
  • The Washington Research Council, in 13-page policy brief, wrote, "Even for those who favor an income tax, the peculiar, punitive and volatile tax imposed by I-1098 can not be considered acceptable. It jeopardizes the recovery, destabilizes revenues, and chases away jobs and investment."[39]
  • In a statement of opposition to I-1098, Laura Peterson, Boeing vice president for State and Local Government Relations – Northwest region, said, "An innovative and skilled workforce that can compete in the global economy requires a strong education system. However, I-1098 will significantly erode Washington state's competitiveness and job creation, and hurt small and medium businesses including numerous Boeing suppliers. I-1098 is not the right solution to address our education challenges."[40]
  • In a press release announcing the Washington Technology Industry Association's opposition to I-1098, WTIA president and CEO Susan Sigl said, "While we respect the opinions of both sides, a significant majority of our members are not in favor of this particular initiative which is why we have chosen to take this position as an organization. The absence of a state income tax gives Washington companies a competitive advantage in their efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest from across the country."[41] The WTIA, at the time, was the largest state-wide association of technology companies and executives in the world with more than 1,100 member companies representing more than 125,000 technology sector employees in Washington State.
  • In a statement of opposition to I-1098, Rich Ranieri, Dendreon senior vice president, Human Resources, said, "Initiative 1098 would serve as an unfortunate, unnecessary and untimely deterrent for us in attracting as well as retaining key talent. Therefore, if Washington is to continue as the home of thriving and innovative healthcare companies that are developing essential, lifesaving drugs such as Provenge, Initiative 1098 should be defeated in November."[42]

Contributions

Below is a chart that outlines the top five cash and in-kind contributions to the Defeat 1098 campaign:[43]

Contributor Amount
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO[44] $425,000
Theiline Scheumann $110,000
Joe Barer $105,000
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder & CEO[44] $100,000
Bartell Drugs $100,000

Reports and analysis

See also: Additional reports and analysis (as well as rebuttals and responses) on I-1098

OFM impact report

In 2010 the Washington Office of Financial Management released fiscal impact statements for initiatives scheduled to appear on the 2010 ballot, including Initiative 1098. Below is an excerpt:

Beginning calendar year 2012, the income tax and tax relief are estimated to generate a net increase in state revenue of $11.16 billion over five calendar years to be used exclusively for education and health services. The 20 percent state property tax levy reduction will allow some local property tax districts to levy an increased amount; this revenue impact is expected to be minimal. State implementation costs are estimated at $39.3 million over five fiscal years; one-time computer programming costs are estimated at $50,000 for the state and each university and local government with employees subject to the income tax.
Read the full report here

Tax calculator

The Economic Opportunity Institute, a 501(c)3 nonprofit public policy center in Washington, launched a I-1098 calculator. "Over the past year, EOI has been taking the lead in crafting the policy and building the coalition behind Initiative 1098...," states the institute.[45] (The Executive Director of the EOI is John Burbank, who is also the chair of the "Yes on 1098" campaign.) The EOI calculator calculates and itemizes personal and business tax changes under the proposed initiative.[46]

The EOI calculator, enabling Washington citizens to compute their tax savings or increases under I-1098, can be found here.

Tax Table

Below is an example of income taxes that would be paid at different levels of income under I-1098 (click "show"):[46][47]

In favor of I-1098

In opposition of I-1098

Frequently Asked Questions

The Seattle Times compiled a list of questions and answers on I-1098 titled I-1098: Frequently Asked Questions.[53]

Tax system analysis

According to a November 2009 tax system analysis by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, Washington was ranked last, 50th out of 50 states, in terms of tax fairness. ITEP is a non-profit, nonpartisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues.[54]

The 2009 report concluded that because of the way the tax system was structured, the poorest 20% of residents paid 17.3% of their income in sales and property taxes, while the wealthiest 1% paid less than 3% of their income. Additionally, Washington, one of the 10 most regressive states according to the study, relied "very heavily on regressive sales and excise taxes. [The state] derive[d] between half and two-thirds of their tax revenue from these taxes, compared to the national average of 35 percent."[54]

According to the report, the combination of flat (or non-existent) income taxes and high sales and excise taxes tended to make for a very regressive tax system. However, states with progressive income taxes and a lower reliance on sales and excise taxes tended to be less regressive tax states.[54]

The ITEP study itemized the 17.3% of income devoted to taxes by the poorest 20% as follows: 4.2% property taxes + 13.1% in sales and excise taxes. The 13.1% sales/excise tax was further broken down as 4.4% general sales tax, 3.9% other sales and excise tax [e.g. gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes], and 4.8% "Sales & Excise on Business" [e.g. the B&O Tax].[55][56]

The Washington State Revenue Department similarly estimated that families with incomes under $20,000 pay 14.2 percent of their incomes in major state and local taxes and that families with incomes more than $130,000 pay 3.9 percent.[56]

See also: Responses and rebuttals can be viewed here

Local Impacts

The Yes on 1098 campaign analyzed the impact that budget cuts have had on Washington's 10 major regions and determined what impact I-1098 would have on restoring cuts to education and healthcare.[57] You can find each report here: Bellingham, Bremerton, Everett, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and Yakima.

Constitutionality debate

Arguments against constitutionality

The Washington Policy Center released an analysis of Initiative 1098 by former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge in August 2010. The analysis argued that the proposed measure was unconstitutional. "Initiative 1098 is clearly unconstitutional on the basis of existing case law. Its enactment will only guarantee protracted litigation to determine if the initiative meets constitutional muster," said Talmadge. Talmadge argued that the argument by proponents that the state supreme court would overturn its past rulings on a graduated income tax were incorrect. "The proponents of a graduated net income tax in Washington have vociferously argued that these older cases are no longer viable, because they allegedly rely on United States Supreme Court precedent that no longer finds that income-based taxes constitute taxes on property. This argument finds full flower in a 1993 law review article [by law professor Hugh Spitzer]," said Talmadge.[58]

The former justice argued that since 1993 the high court had been confronted with several cases in which the validity of "income as property" cases were questioned, however, the court had rejected each challenge. "Based upon this authority, it is likely the Washington Supreme Court would find the tax created by Initiative 1098 is a property, not an excise, tax," he added.[58]

Justice Talmadge's analysis of I-1098 can be read here.

Arguments for constitutionality

Attorney Hugh Spitzer, who taught State Constitutional Law at the University of Washington, argued that the Talmadge's analysis was flawed. In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer he made the following points:[58]

  • One of the cases that Talmadge cited was a 1999 decision in which justices threw out a fee on residential units imposed by the City of Mukilteo. Talmadge says Harbour Village Apartments v. City of Mukilteo would likely be used against I-1098. Spitzer disagreed, saying "That case [was] simply not relevant."
  • Regarding the 1933 decision, "Basically, at the time that Washington Supreme Court held income to be property in Washington by a five to four vote, it was a minority position nationally. Today, at most, there are just two states where courts still have that theory on the books. And Washington is one of them,"
  • Spitzer argued that the current State Supreme Court would accept an income tax. "Fundamentally, the cases they relied on in 1933 all tied back to three United States Supreme Court cases which have been reversed or, in one case, wiped out by a U.S. Constitutional amendment. The background law no longer exists."

Spitzer's argument on the constitutionality of a state income tax can be read here.

Commercials and videos

"Yes on 1098" videos and commercials:


"No on 1098" videos and commercials:

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2010 and Additional I-1098 media endorsements

Support

See also: Additional media endorsements in support
  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer officially endorsed 1098 on September 7, 2010. The editorial board wrote, "The income tax does NOT soak the rich: It qualifies as a light rinse job. Seattlepi.com endorses Initiative 1098 as a big step toward tax fairness and reform, as well as a way of putting teachers into classrooms and poor families onto the state's Basic Health Plan. . . . Most importantly, it will offer relief to taxpayers who feel the drip, drip, drip of the least fair tax code in America . . . Our middle class families pay four times as much as the very wealthy. . . . Our state needs brains to rebuild, minds honed by a first-rate public school system. . . . I-1098 is a watershed on who we are and where we want to go as a state. "[59]
  • The Pacific Northwest Inlander endorsed 1098 on October 6, 2010. The Editorial board wrote, "In times like these, everyone is making sacrifices. Think of Initiative 1098 this way: It requires the richest citizens of our state to pitch in, too. These talented people have been successful because of their own business acumen, but they have also been given a big assist by the state — in the form of an education, a pool of smart potential employees and a quality of life among the best in the nation."[60]
  • The Daily Evergreen endorsed 1098 on September 23, 2010. The Editorial board for the official newspaper of Washington State University wrote, " Still, critics worry about the state Legislature extending the income tax to affect more people. That is exactly what the initiative system was designed to prevent. Washingtonians are initiative crazy — any attempt to unfairly expand the income tax would be met with swift resistance from voters. No student should be opposed to I-1098. It would provide a guaranteed source of revenue for education, allowing for more scholarship and loan opportunities for students, and more funds for public schools. Many college students forget that we too are allowed to vote and an influence on political policy. The Daily Evergreen editorial board encourages you to vote for what you believe in, and we recommend you vote for I-1098."[61]
  • The Stranger endorsed 1098 on October 13, 2010. The Stranger Election Control Board wrote, "Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the nation. The poor pay 17.3 percent of their income in taxes, while the rich pay only 2.6 percent of their income in taxes....Initiative 1098 seeks to even out the playing field by laying an income tax on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and couples who make more than $400,000 a year. And it only taxes them on the income above those amounts. Doing so would raise more than $2 billion a year for public education and health care. (And, to sweeten the deal, I-1098 would lower everyone's property taxes and cut almost everyone's B&O taxes.)"[62]

Opposition

See also: All 20+ news and media endorsements in opposition to I-1098
  • The Seattle Times officially came out against 1098 on June 18, 2010. In an editorial, the board wrote, "Initiative 1098, the state income tax, runs counter to the idea of government adjusting its appetites downward. It takes current government programs as given and seeks to maintain them by adjusting taxes upward. I-1098 also takes away the most important tax-based advantage Washington has in attracting business and jobs here: our lack of a state income tax. This state needs that advantage, and should reject I-1098."[63]
  • The Tacoma News Tribune came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on September 24th, 2010. The paper's board wrote, "Clear away the clutter, and I-1098 is an attempt to create a tiered income tax without benefit of an amendment to the Washington Constitution. The state supreme court has forbidden that in the past; the initiative’s sponsors are hoping today’s justices will have different ideas when I-1098 inevitably hits the courts.The measure has several strikes against it: It may be illegal, it would target wealth-creation in the middle of a recession, and it would enact an income tax with no constitutional limits or corresponding constitutional caps on other state taxes."[64]
  • The Spokesman-Review announced its opposition to I-1098 in an editorial written on September 26th, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "Washington state needs a more favorable business climate to create jobs and a stable tax base. Tax reform should be comprehensive, revenue-neutral and constitutional. I-1098, despite the good intentions behind it, is a backward approach. If I-1098 passes, it is Washington state that will get dunked, and it won’t be anything to smile about."[65]
  • The Everett Herald came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 10, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "The property and B&O cuts aren't meaningless, but they're close. The average family would see about 10 bucks a month in property tax savings (the cuts don't apply to school, fire or other local taxes). The business tax cuts, while welcome, aren't enough to result in much new hiring, if any. Real, lasting tax reform should be more comprehensive. I-1098 does nothing to ease the sales-tax burden on the poor, something a broader proposal could do. Washington's tax system is already a dysfunctional patchwork of short-term solutions adopted over decades. I-1098 could make it even worse."[66]

Editorial opinions

See also: Additional editorial opinions and articles on I-1098
  • Aubrey Davis wrote in an October 22, 2010 editorial in The Seattle Times, "We are undermining future prosperity by skimping on public investments today. Washington ranks 47th among the states in funding K-12 education relative to personal income. We rank 37th in awarding bachelor degrees. Yet we're cutting higher-education funding and have raised tuition at the University of Washington by 30 percent over the past two years ... I-1098 will provide $2 billion per year in new funding for key investments that will pay off for everyone: preschool for at-risk kids, smaller class sizes, more rigorous high-school graduation standards, greater access to college, basic health coverage, and support for long-term care."[67]
  • Fred Obee of The Port Townsend Leader wrote in a September 8, 2010 editorial, "If we had an income tax that everyone paid, we should be able to do away with the sales tax or the property tax. Something like that would begin to get at tax fairness in this state. As written, though, Initiative 1098 is just more of the same – another tax program among a hodgepodge of tax programs that are neither equitable nor fair."[68]
  • Marilyn Watkins wrote in a September 12, 2010 editorial in The Columbian, "Opponents also claim that after two years the Legislature will extend the income tax to all. But in Washington, the people have the last word. For instance, this November, the voters will decide on the new taxes passed last session and a new two-thirds requirement for future tax increases. The voters will decide on any change to the income tax as well, as I-1098 explicitly requires."[69]
  • Jack Darnton of The Anacortes American wrote in a September 29, 2010 article, "But the biggest problem with this initiative is that once established, an income tax will be extended to more people and rates will just go up — with no corresponding drop in the other taxes we pay. ...We have a spending problem. Let’s focus on that and forget about a new income tax. The track record in Olympia gives us zero confidence that most people will be better off in the long run if Initiative 1098 passes."[70]
  • Keven Graves of The Nisqually Valley News wrote in an October 15, 2010 article, "Initiative 1098 is the 'tax-the-rich-only' income tax measure. To be clear, my income doesn’t come close to qualifying, and I doubt it ever will. However, I think this tax is a trojan horse. I don’t believe for one minute that Washington state lawmakers can resist the temptation to extend an income tax to every living, breathing person in Washington state the first chance they get...Lawmakers are pushing taxpayers to the brink, and Initiative 1098, a thinly-veiled attempt at class warfare, should be soundly rejected."[71]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • An April 21, 2010 poll by Survey USA revealed that 66% of polled voters supported I-1098, while 27% opposed the proposed measure and 6% remained undecided. The poll was sponsored by KING-TV Seattle. A total of 500 voters were polled.[72]
  • During May 3-23, 2010 The Washington Poll conducted a poll of approximately 1,252 registered voters. Of the polled voters, about 58% said they supported I-1098, while 30% said they were opposed and 10% said they were undecided. According to the poll there was a margin of error of approximately +/- 2.8%.[73][74][75][76][77][78]
  • A June 9-13, 2010 poll of 405 registered voters by Elway showed an even split in support/opposition of 1098. Of those polled, 46% said they were in favor of 1098 (26% strongly), while 46% said they were opposed (32% strongly). Eight percent of respondents said they had no opinion either way.[79]
  • A July 27-August 1, 2010 poll of 1,204 Washington voters by Public Policy Polling showed a 41%-41% split in support/opposition of 1098. Eighteen percent of respondents said they weren't sure which way they were going to vote.[80]
  • An August 26-August 29, 2010 poll of 650 likely voters by Survey USA showed that 41% of voters were certain they would support I-1098, 33% were certain they would oppose the measure, and 26% were undecided.[81][82][83]
  • A Sept. 9-12, 2010 poll of 500 likely voters by Elway showed the race at 44%-42%, a statistically insignificant margin. Of those in favor, 28% were strongly in favor. Of those opposed, 27% were strongly opposed. Fourteen percent of respondents said they were undecided, up from 8% in the last Elway poll.[84][85][86][87]
  • A September 30-October 3, 2010 poll of 639 likely voters by Survey USA revealed that 41% supported the proposed measure, while 39% were opposed and 20% were undecided. The poll was sponsored by KING-TV Seattle. The margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points.[88]
  • An October 7-10, 2010 poll of 400 likely voters by Elway showed that 41% supported the proposed measure (25% strongly), while 48% opposed it (29% strongly) and 11% were undecided. The margin of error was +/- 5 percentage points. The poll represented the first time that opponents of I-1098 have led in a poll.[89]
  • A two-wave October 5-14 and October 18-28, 2010 poll of 695 likely voters by The Washington Poll showed that 43% supported the proposed measure, while 54% opposed it and 3% were undecided. The margin of error was +/- 3.7 percentage points.[90]
  • An October 24-27, 2010 poll of 504 likely voters by SurveyUSA showed that 34% supported the proposed measure, while 56% opposed it and 10% were undecided. The margin of error was +/- 4.4 percentage points.[91]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
April 21, 2010 Survey USA 66% 27% 6% 500
May 3 - May 23, 2010 The Washington Poll 58% 30% 10% 1,252
June 9 - June 13, 2010 The Elway Poll 46% 46% 8% 405
July 27 - Aug. 1, 2010 Public Policy Polling 41% 41% 18% 1,204
Aug. 26 - Aug. 29, 2010 Survey USA 41% 33% 26% 650
Sept. 9 - Sept. 12, 2010 The Elway Poll 44% 42% 14% 500
Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2010 Survey USA 41% 39% 20% 639
Oct. 7 - Oct. 10, 2010 The Elway Poll 41% 48% 11% 400
Oct. 5-14 & Oct. 18-28, 2010 The Washington Poll 43% 54% 3% 695
Oct. 24 - Oct. 27, 2010 SurveyUSA 34% 56% 10% 504

Path to the ballot

Box of I-1098 signatures. Photo credit: Washington Secretary of State's office
See also: Washington signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

In order to qualify for the November ballot, supporters had to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 2, 2010. In mid-May a Thurston County judge approved the final wording for the ballot title and summary; giving supporters the green light for petition circulation.[92][93][94]

About 385,000 signatures were filed with the Washington Secretary of State's office to qualify I-1098 for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot.[1][95][96][97] The signature collection process was marred when one signature collector, Claudia McKinney, a member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who was paid by the union for the time she took off work to gather signatures, was criminally charged with forging signatures on some of the petitions she turned in.[98]. The number of signatures affected by the alleged fraud constituted less than one tenth of one percent of the total number of signatures submitted. Senior officials at the Secretary of States office said that they believed this was an isolated instance of one individual engaging in improper conduct and that they had no reason to suspect other petitions submitted by anyone affiliated with the SEIU.[99][100][101]

The Washington Secretary of State certified the proposed initiative on July 15 following a 3 percent random check. Of the 11,786 signatures that reviewed, 10,090 were accepted, an error rate of 18.5% which was about the same as the historical average for ballot initatives.[102]

Fraudulent signatures

The Secretary of State's office found evidence of fraudulent signatures on petitions for Initiative 1098 and referred their findings to the Washington State Patrol for investigation on July 15, 2010. On July 16 state officials reported that 349 names on petition sheets were invalid and fraudulent. "The review showed that most of the names – 89.1 percent – were invalid, either because the person was not found on voter registration rolls or the signature and address did not match those on file," said Ammons. The state has asked that the Washington State Patrol conduct and investigation. Initiative signature fraud is considered a Class C felony and can lead to up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.[103][104][105]

According to mid-September 2010 reports, criminal charges were filed against Claudia McKinney, a member of Services Employees International Union, Local 775 NW, for allegedly submitting forged signatures in support of I-1098. If convicted in the state of Washington, it is considered a Class C felony punishable of up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.[106] On March 4 McKinney was sentenced to 160 hours of community service plus fines as part of a plea deal.[107][108]

The legal documents can be found here.

See also

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Related measures

ApprovedaUpheld Oregon Tax Hike Vote, Ballot Measures 66 and 67 (2010)

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External links

Additional reading

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 From Our Corner, "WA income tax plan headed for ballot," July 15, 2010
  2. Washington Secretary of State, "2010 General Election Online Voters' Guide"
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