Washington Initiative 1098 (2010), media endorsements

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Main article: Washington Income Tax, Initiative 1098 (2010)
Below is a list of media endorsements and editorial opinions on Initiative 1098.

Media endorsements


  • 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. "[1]
  • 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."[2]
  • 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."[3]
  • 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.)"[4]
  • PubliCola (blog) said, "On a fundamental level, this initiative is about justice—creating a fair tax system where high earners pay their fair share, and the state continues its duty to provide basic education and health services to the people who live here. If the high-earners’ income tax constitutes some kind of class warfare because it targets one group of people—the highest income brackets—please consider then that the current system already targets one group of people—the lowest income bracket—by charging a flat sales tax. 1098 is an opportunity to set things straight."[5]


  • The Kitsap Sun wrote an editorial in opposition to I-1098 on April 24, 2010. The editorial read, "This initiative, or any income tax in Washington state, or for that matter any further sales tax increase, should only come after our Legislature proves to its constituents that we are clearly only paying for well-defined priorities of government. True, the past two Legislatures have lopped billions of spending off the books, and we’ll grant it wasn’t easy. But until voters regain confidence that legislators have the will to spend only on what they must and audit ruthlessly to back that promise up, offering any new income tax is folly."[6][7]
  • The Yakima Herald-Republic came out against 1098 on April 27, 2010, when the paper's editorial board wrote, "True, lawmakers can't alter an initiative for two years after passage. But when that two-year limit has been reached, any initiative can be amended. Consider what happened this past session, when legislators brushed aside Initiative 960's two-thirds requirement for tax measures and approved, through simple-majority votes, nearly $800 million in new taxes. Don't ever underestimate the powers of the Legislature with respect to initiatives."[8]
  • The Columbian announced its opposition to I-1098 on April 28, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "One of the most vapid arguments is that Oregon voters recently approved higher taxes on the wealthy, so hey, voters in Washington might do the same. That is the consummate apples-and-oranges analogy, largely because Oregon does not have a state sales tax while Washington does. And nowhere in the wording of I-1077 is there any mention of any accompanying decrease in our state’s sales tax if the proposal becomes reality."[9] On September 12 the editorial board reiterated their stance on I-1098. They said, "The taxpayers’ trust bucket has dried up in recent years. Oh, but I-1098 would only tax the richest 3 percent of Washingtonians, you say? Trust you? Sorry, we can’t. And even if we could trust I-1098’s promoters, we can’t trust legislators to hold the line on 3 percent...These trust vacuums are only part of the reason The Columbian recommends a “No” vote on Initiative 1098."[10]
  • 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."[11]
  • The Longview Daily News announced its opposition to 1098 in an editorial written on July 7th, 2010. The paper's board wrote, "Yes, this income tax would produce more revenue for the state. But with that revenue coming from high earners who own and create businesses that help fuel the state's economy, the costs would likely outweigh any benefit. Washington's economy is only now beginning to improve. Recovery will be long and slow. What the state doesn't need at this critical time is a new tax that will give employers and other enterprising citizens incentive to look elsewhere for opportunities."[12]
  • 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."[13]
  • 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."[14]
  • The Peninsula Gateway came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on September 29, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "...we encourage a “no” vote for several reasons. First of all, no state has a tiered tax system, which would require an amendment to the state constitution. I-1098, if it’s approved by voters and a potential court battle, would affect only the highest tax brackets, and opponents fear it would open the door to an income tax for everyone. Secondly, property taxes are mostly collected by counties and other districts, such as police, fire, schools and parks. Proponents claim a 20 percent drop in those taxes, but it likely would result in a real savings of about 4 percent, because it won’t affect those other rates. Another issue is the B&O tax, one of the most restricting obstacles for small businesses, but we think wrapping up a tax credit with this initiative seems to be an effort to pacify those who talk about creating jobs in today’s marketplace."[15]
  • The Tri-City Herald came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 1, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "We don't like the way S corporations -- generally smaller entities -- would be hit with the tax, while C corporations -- generally bigger entities -- get a pass. It's not fair and likely to limit job growth. Even without that inequity, siphoning additional wealth from the private to public sector will impede the state's anemic economic recovery. The transfer is expected to be $2 billion in the first year alone, if the initiative passes. We aren't impressed by the argument that cuts in state property tax included in the initiative would result in a windfall for the middle class -- with corresponding economic benefits. It sounds nice, but most property taxes go to local and regional agencies. Those won't change, so the net return to taxpayers is limited."[16]
  • The Wenatchee World came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 2, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "Initiative 1098 will impose the state’s first income tax, on high-earners and business profits initially. Our state that once encouraged economic initiative and endeavor will now penalize success. We will turn from a state that boasts nationwide of its lack of income tax, to a state with one of the highest income tax rates in country. We will discourage individuals and business from striving to move higher, by ensuring government takes most of the next dollar they earn. This proposed tax will fall heavily on the owners of small businesses, who will invest less, hire fewer workers, or simply move away. Businesses that rely on highly skilled workers will find recruiting more difficult. The economic penalties will spread far beyond the “rich” who pay the tax."[17]
  • The Issaquah Press came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 5, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "While we are not necessarily opposed to considering a state income tax in exchange for reductions of other taxes, I-1098 is the wrong way to go about it. Sadly, we just don’t trust that our legislators won’t lower the threshold for the income tax, letting that $400,000 ceiling creep down to the middle class it is intended to relieve."[18]
  • The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 6, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "We fear once an income tax is in place it will eventually be imposed on everyone. The tax imposed on the rich today could easily be a tax on the middle class tomorrow. Promises made can too easily be ignored by future legislators. Even if this income tax would tax only the rich, we still have concerns. We don't like the class politics. The message being sent with a wink and a nod is that the income tax is directed at the filthy rich (them) while giving a tax break to good, hard-working people (us)."[19]
  • The Olympian came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 7, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "The truth is that Washington is one of only a handful of states without an income tax, and every attempt to impose one here has been turned back. Opponents make a convincing argument that not having an income tax attracts business owners to this state. The fact is this difficult, complex debate over an income tax scrapes the scab off the wounds of voters across this state. It exposes a huge distrust in our state Legislature and a belief that lawmakers will override citizen initiatives in a heartbeat. The debate also exposes an utter lack of faith in this state’s ability to meaningfully educate our children and properly provide assistance to the poor, the elderly, the infirm and those people living on the fringes of society. Is there a need to bolster spending on education and health care services? Absolutely. Will I-1098 actually provide the promised revenue? We’re not convinced. Would an income tax on high-wage earners provide a reliable source of revenue that would be guaranteed to go to education and health care? Again, we’re not convinced."[20]
  • 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."[21]
  • The Port Orchard Independent came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 14, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "Instead of raising revenue, I-1098 would cost the state money and jobs because it would encourage the most productive among us to flee the state for less confiscatory locales, taking with them assets that could have been invested here. I-1098 isn’t economic policy. It’s a disingenuous, backdoor effort to impose a state income tax by appealing to your envy and resentment of the very people who sign your paycheck."[22]
  • The Bellevue Reporter came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 14, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "Ask yourself this: Do you really believe the politicians will keep their hands off your money when they can easily make an income tax apply to all? We don't. State government's problem isn't a lack of money. The problem is that politicians refuse to prioritize spending. Their answer to everything is "give us more money." Again, the answer should be "No." It's also a mistake to believe that other taxes will dramatically fall if an income tax is put in place. Yes, the state will cut part of the property tax, but only its share, which amounts to only about 20 percent of the total. And what about all that increased revenue going to education and health programs? In fact, the Legislature can spend the money on anything it pleases – and probably will."[23]
  • The Skagit Valley Herald came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 19, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "With all due respect for Bill Gates Sr. and his well-meaning advocacy of I-1098, this measure would be just another patch to the state’s broken tax system. It would give the Legislature yet another excuse to avoid dealing with the ongoing structural deficit in the state budget. I-1098 adds $2 billion a year to state revenues without a coherent budget process to guide spending priorities. Voters have shown repeatedly over time that they don’t trust legislators not to misspend a surge in revenue, adding new programs and expanding others."[24]
  • The Vancouver Voice came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 21, 2010. The paper's editorial board wrote, "Without a binding clause that would prevent law makers from turning I-1098 into an income tax on everyone, the initiative is a noble, but ultimately too risky of an initiative to pass at this time. Since 1934, Washington voters have rejected a state income tax eight different times. We suggest that tradition is upheld one more time. We recommend a ‘No’ vote on I-1098."[25]
  • The Kent Reporter came out against I-1098 in an editorial written on October 21, 2010. The paper's editorial board (editor and publisher) wrote, "Washington voters have made it clear over the years they do not want a state income tax. Passing I-1098 initially puts the tax on the affluent (single people earning more than $200,000 or married couples earning more than $400,000) but there are opportunities down the road for this scenario to change."[26]
  • The Wall Street Journal opposed I-1098. In an editorial written on August 14, 2010, the Journal asked Washingtonians not to be "duped by the claim that only the rich will pay this tax." They also wrote, "No state has introduced an income tax since Connecticut nearly 20 years ago, and that state's experience has not been happy. The top rate in Hartford began at 4.5% but has since climbed to 6.5%. Washington wants to leap over that and achieve California and New Jersey heights in one giant step. Washington would move overnight from one of the nine states with no income tax to having the eighth highest rate in the country."[27]

Editorial opinions

  • 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."[28]
  • Jack Darnton of The Anacortes American wrote in a September 29, 2010 editorial, "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."[29]
  • Keven Graves of The Nisqually Valley News wrote in an October 15, 2010 editorial, "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."[30]
  • Mike Gallagher of The Camas-Washougal Post-Record wrote in an October 19, 2010 editorial, "Initiative 1098...sounds tempting to vote for, especially the middle class tax cuts and elimination of the B&O tax for small businesses, proponents say would happen. But, bottom line is this would be a new income tax in a state where there currently is none. Washington dearly needs to maintain our current income tax advantage. Our opinion is no."[31]
  • 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."[32]
  • 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."[33]

Additional Editorials

See also


  1. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Vote 'yes' on I-1098," September 7, 2010
  2. Pacific Northwest Inlander,"Decision Time," October 6, 2010
  3. The Daily Evergreen,"I-1098 supports education" September 23, 2010
  4. The Stranger,"The Stranger Election Control Board Endorsements," October 13, 2010
  5. PubliCola,"PubliCola Picks “Yes” on Initiative 1098," October 26, 2010
  6. Kitsap Sun,"OUR VIEW | Proposed Tax on the Rich Is the Right Gesture, But the Wrong Idea," April 24, 2010
  7. Kitsap Sun,"OUR VIEW | Sorting Out the Ballot Issues," October 20, 2010
  8. Yakima Herald-Republic,"Too good to be true-- Income tax plan is discriminatory," April 27, 2010 (dead link)
  9. The Columbian,"In Our View: Penalizing Success" April 28, 2010
  10. The Columbian,"In Our View: ‘No’ on I-1098," September 12, 2010
  11. The Seattle Times,"Reset 2010: Statewide initiatives tackle taxes, taxes and drink," June 18, 2010
  12. The Longview Daily News,"Adding state income tax not worth the extra revenue" July 7, 2010
  13. The Tacoma News Tribune,"An income tax to throw good money after bad" September 24, 2010
  14. The Spokesman-Review,"Editorial: Income tax initiative dripping with flaws" September 26, 2010
  15. The Peninsula Gateway,"Income tax initiative opens too many doors " September 29, 2010
  16. The Tri-City Herald,"Vote no on Initiative 1098, income tax wrong for state" October 1, 2010
  17. The Wenatchee World,"I-1098 is a tax that hurts us all" October 2, 2010
  18. The Issaquah Press,"Press Editorial: Ballot measures target new, revised taxes" October 5, 2010
  19. The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin,"Voters should reject income tax" October 6, 2010 (dead link)
  20. The Olympian,"Piecemeal tax approach doesn't go far enough to fix system" October 7, 2010
  21. The Everett Herald,"Not the tax reform we need" October 10, 2010
  22. The Port Orchard Independent,"I-1098 just a sneaky way to impose an income tax" October 14, 2010
  23. The Bellevue Reporter,"Say 'No' to state income tax" October 14, 2010
  24. The Skagit Valley Herald,"No on I-1098" October 19, 2010
  25. The Vancouver Voice,"Initiatives in brief" October 21, 2010
  26. The Kent Reporter,"The Kent Reporter's editorial stance on state initiatives" October 21, 2010
  27. The Wall Street Journal,"The Gates of Confiscation" August 14, 2010
  28. The Port Townsend Leader,"Editorial: Initiative 1098 fails at tax reform" September 8, 2010
  29. The Anacortes American,"We don’t need state liquor stores — or state income tax" September 29, 2010
  30. The Nisqually Valley News,"Income tax measure is Olympia’s trojan horse," October 15, 2010
  31. The Camas-Washougal Post-Record,"A quick take on booze, candy, new taxes and criminals" October 19, 2010
  32. "I-1098 will be a boon to Washington's economy" October 22, 2010
  33. [http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/sep/12/i-1098-should-voters-pass-tax-reform-proposal/ The Columbian, "Yes on I-1098: Voters should pass tax reform proposal"