Friday, July 16, 2010
I have some very good news. The Secretary of State's office has confirmed what we already knew: I-1098 will be on the November ballot. It is clear that the people of Washington are ready for real tax reform. 384,382 of them signed the petition to make our tax system more fair.
Thank you for everything you have done. I have had the pleasure to meet many of the volunteers that worked on 1098, and I have to say I was continually impressed with the dedication and passion that I saw from Washingtonians who are ready for change. Our State has been penalized by an unfair and inadequate tax system for years. Initiative 1098 will change that.
We currently rank 46th out of the 50 states in the the amount of our economy we invest in education, and we rank dead last — 50th out of the 50 states — in the basic fairness of our tax code. Middle class families in Washington State pay four times the tax rate of the very wealthy, while our reliance on the B&O tax penalizes small businesses that are struggling in the current economic downturn. That is scandalous. And it is wrong.
When 1098 passes we will reduce taxes on middle class families, eliminate the B&O tax on small businesses, boost our economy and make our tax code more fair. I know there is broad public support for this initiative and with your help I know we will win in November.
Washington is only one of seven states without some form of income tax and our opponents are already mobilizing to try and keep it that way. We can't let them win. The stakes are too high.
The very future of Washington hangs in the balance. Will we let our education system continue to deteriorate? Will we kick thousands of our most vulnerable citizens off the Basic Health Plan? Will we let Washington continue to be the most regressively taxed state in the country?
Or will we have the courage to lower taxes on small businesses, lower property taxes on working and middle class families and create a limited income tax on the very wealthy — the wealthiest 1.2% — that will generate $2 billion per year in revenue dedicated to funding education and health care?
I think the right answer is commonsense. Won't you join me and tell all your friends to support 1098 as well?
William Gates Sr.