Democrats push to put income tax on ballot

Washington state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz issued an action alert Thursday calling for volunteer signature-gatherers to help put a “high wealth income tax” on the ballot this November.

Democrats in the 2010 Legislature referred Initiative 1098 to the ballot. It would impose a 5 percent income tax on earnings above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples filing jointly — the wealthiest 3 percent of Washington residents.

In exchange, the measure would reduce the state property tax and eliminate the business and occupation tax on small businesses.

A recent University of Washington survey found 58 percent of Washington voters supported the measure.

“The only challenge now is gathering the 241,153 valid signatures that I-1098 needs to qualify for the ballot,” Pelz said in his alert. Backers, including the SEIU, have until July 2 to collect about 185,000 valid signatures.

Opponents won wording in the ballot title explicitly stating, up high, that the measure will enact a “state income tax.”

Passed at the urging of Bill Gates Sr., the income tax on the wealthy is designed to spread the tax burden and help fund education and health care.

Kathie Durbin

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