Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Finally someone writes a response to the ‘camel’s nose’ argument. Legislators don’t need I-1098 to enact an income tax on everyone. They can do with a simple majority any time, not because I-1098 passes.

    • Well, a simple majority vote would technically suffice…but for reasons #2 and #3 I’ve outlined in the post, that hasn’t happened yet, and absent some seismic political shift in the landscape it seems very unlikely.

      • Andrew says:

        Yes, exactly, I only mean to say that I get extremely frustrated when I hear Defeat-1098 ads proclaiming that the income tax will be lowered to include everyone with only a simple majority vote – as if this is particular to initiative rules. But really, legislators can do this anytime they want with a simple majority with any piece of legislation.

        We haven’t done enough to combat this claim.

        • Kirk Richaards says:

          [snipped by moderator per comment policy] Plus, with inflation, they won’t even have to lower the bar. Grandma bought her house for $9000 and it’s worth $900,000 now. In a generation $200,000 will be grocery money.

          • You should check your math. Washington state’s 2009 median wage is estimated to be $52,413; over the past 20 years, median wages have increased an average of 3.4% per year. (Note that prices increased an average of 3.7% over that same period.) At that rate, it would take 60 years before today’s median households even come close to I-1098’s $400,000 threshold. I’m sure there are going to be a few other changes to our tax code between now and then, so we’ve got plenty of time to make adjustments as needed.

  2. Winslow P. Kelpfroth says:

    I seem to recall dimly a provision in the Washington Constitution that mandates equal taxation. Since I-1098 only applies to high income individuals, would that not violate a constitutional requirement?

  3. Winslow P. Kelpfroth says:

    Seems to me that the source of the underlying fear of 1098 is mistrust of the legislature, something that’s likely to persist as long as our elected representatives are perceived as career pols.

    • The only reason a legislator returns to office is because their own constituents voted for him or her. So if they’ve held office for a while, wouldn’t you say that’s because their voters trust them and/or support most of the decisions they’ve made? There’s nothing wrong with a long career in public service, provided the person in question is indeed serving the public’s interest.

      What’s more, Washington has a part-time legislature; many of our legislators work – or have worked – in the private sector as well, often with some distinction. In fact, you’ll often hear candidates for office touting their private sector experience as something that qualifies them to serve in public office. Take a look at a few of these biographies, you’ll see what I mean: House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans.

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