Washington Initiative 1098 (2010), opposition, arguments

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Main article: Washington Income Tax, Initiative 1098 (2010)
Below is a list of arguments in opposition to Initiative 1098 in Washington.


  • The Seattle Chamber of Commerce came out against I-1098 on August 13, 2010. In a story by the Washington State Wire, the Chamber's Senior VP of Government Affairs George Allen said, "Partnerships and LLCs would be hit really hard...It would hurt small, medium and even neighborhood businesses, and work against creating the kind of economy we want."[1]
  • 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."[2]
  • 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.”[3]
  • 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."[4]
  • 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."[5] The WTIA is 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, 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."[6]
  • Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business wrote in a May 14, 2010 editorial that 1098 would "hurt entrepreneurs and small businesses." He also wrote, "... private-sector employers will lead us out of this punishing recession when they increase production, expand and hire new people. That is made more difficult — and more unlikely — if those employers are burdened by higher taxes."[7]
  • The Washington Farm Bureau, in a letter recently 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."[8] The WSFB represents 36,000 ranch and farm families throughout Washington.
  • 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.”[9]
  • In a statement of opposition to I-1098, Mike Hughes, President of Safeco Insurance, said, “For years, the lack of a state income tax has been a powerful selling point to companies and individuals looking to move to Washington. This November’s vote will have a big impact on our region’s future growth opportunities.”[10]
  • Richard Schrock, a former Republican political consultant, led the effort to reject the 1970s corporate income tax. About I-1098, Schrock has said, "Basically, it’s a discriminatory tax. It singles out one group of taxpayers for a special tax. It basically is unfair on its face."[11]
  • Luke Esser, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party said, "The last thing our state needs is more job-killing taxes in the middle of a recession. It just shows there’s an insatiable appetite by the Democrats and the liberals for more taxes."[12]
  • Tim Eyman, a prominent political activist, called the initiative "Pandora's Box. That once you give the state the power to be able to tax everyone based on income, they're going to tax everyone based on income."[13]
  • Former Microsoft employee and former deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said, "As a former Microsoft employee, I absolutely know it would damage Microsoft's ability to compete. Part of their ability to attract talent from all over the world is because there's no state income tax here."[14]
  • Brett Davis, economic policy analyst at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation said, "I’m not too confident in government’s ability to rein in its desire for more taxes. It seems like they always want more, and when they get it, they spend even more and they want even more."[15]
  • Paul Allen, Microsoft Corp. co-founder and the founder and chairman of Seattle-based Vulcan Inc., opposed I-1098. David Postman, spokesperson for Vulcan, said Allen felt "this is a flawed initiative that would create one of the highest tax rates in the country."[16]
  • TechNet Northwest, a "bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy," said, "Should Washington State Income Tax Initiative 1098 pass, it will have destructive unintended consequences. Entrepreneurial capital – the lifeblood of Washington's vibrant start-up tech community would be under severe pressure to move elsewhere, bleeding jobs to the 46 other states whose tax code would be more welcoming. Washington's innovation economy is in a constant battle to attract the best and the brightest. Adding to that burden the need to sell prospective employees on the 4th highest personal income tax in the country will cause many to avoid Washington altogether and take their talent elsewhere."[17]

See also


  1. Washington State Wire, "Seattle Chamber Comes Out Against Income-Tax Initiative" August 13, 2010
  2. The Seattle Times, "Why Gov. Dan Evans is voting against I-1098" September 24, 2010
  4. Washington Research Council, "I-1098 Income Tax Proposal: Wrong Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription," accessed October 1, 2010
  5. Marketwire, "WTIA Announces Opposition to Washington State Income Tax Initiative 1098" September 30, 2010
  7. Association of Washington Businesses, "Income Tax Would Hurt Washington Entrepreneurs" May 14, 2010
  8. Washington Farm Bureau, "Oppose 1098" June, 2010
  11. The News Tribune, "Income tax plan faced legal hurdles," April 22, 2010
  12. Bloomberg Business Week, "Gates’s Dad Says Rich ‘Aren’t Paying Enough’ in Taxes (Update1)," May 20, 2010
  13. Oregon Public Broadcasting, "Tim Eyman Reacts To Washington Income Tax Ballot Measure," April 22, 2010
  14. Los Angeles Times, "Washington state wrestles with tax-the-rich ballot measure America's wealthiest man backs it, but others say it would hurt more than help by deterring new business," September 25, 2010
  15. Issaquah Press, "Fairness issue defines income tax debate," October 5, 2010
  16. Associated Press, "Paul Allen opposes Wash. income tax ballot measure," October 12, 2010
  17. TechNet, "TechNet Urges Defeat of Washington's Initiative 1098" October 29, 2010