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Washington poll shows voter support for proposed income tax initiative

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May 25, 2010

OLYMPIA, Washington: The statewide income tax has been a controversial topic even before an initiative was proposed for the 2010 ballot. However, a recent poll by The Washington Poll - a nonpartisan, academic survey research project sponsored by the University of Washington - revealed that of the 1,252 registered voters surveyed an estimated 58% are in favor of a statewide income tax. Voters were polled from May 3 through May 23. Approximately 30% said they were opposed to the proposed initiative, while 10% said they remained undecided. The proposed initiative requires a minimum of 241,153 valid petition signatures by July 2, 2010 to qualify for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot.[1][2]

Specifically, the proposed measure calls for taxing gross income above $400,000 joint, reduce the state share of property tax 20 percent, reduce business taxes and direct revenues to education and health.[3] It is estimated that the proposed initiative would generate $1 billion per year. The initiative was later amended to include registered domestic partners for filing joint returns.[4]

The state of Washington is currently one of seven states in the country without a personal income tax. According to reports, voters have rejected attempts to establish a personal or corporate income tax five times; the last time being in the 1970s. The state of Washington's revenue currently comes from two main sources: sales tax and business-and-occupation tax. A graduated income tax was first enacted by initiative in 1932, however, it was thrown out by the Washington Supreme Court in 1933.[5]

Recent polls are listed in the chart below:

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

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