Do you think passage of I-1077 would ultimately lead to state income taxes for lower earners?
SEATTLE – Nearly two-thirds of Washington residents say they support a proposed income tax for high earners while lowering property taxes, according to a new KING 5 News poll.
On Thursday, Bill Gates, Sr. announced Initiative 1077, which would implement an income tax aimed exclusively at Washington state's wealthier residents – those making $200,000 per year or couples making $400,000 per year. That would be coupled with a 20 percent cut in the state property tax and an expansion of the credit for business-and-occupation taxes.
"We've talked about the need for serious tax reform in this state for a good many years ... and for years, nothing has been able to be done," said Gates. "So today, this day, we're going to begin to do something."
SurveyUSA asked 500 adults statewide whether they supported the initiative. Sixty-six percent said they were in favor while 27 percent say they oppose it. Six percent said they were not sure.
In a closer breakdown of the numbers, the poll finds that people on either side of the political aisle support the idea – 75 percent of Democrats say they were in favor and 57 percent of Republicans also said they support the proposal.
In fact, the only group in which there was not a clear majority in support was conservatives. Fifty percent of those who identified themselves as conservative said they were in favor of the proposal.
Conservative anti-tax activist Tim Eyman says I-1077 will almost certainly make the ballot because of its wealthy supporters. But he didn't think voters will go along with it, particularly following the recession and fresh state tax increases on beer, soda pop, service businesses and more.
He also believes that it will open the door to even more tax increases.
“It is the Holy Grail for progressives," said Eyman."They've wanted it for years. But the problem is that it's just a 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.”
Washington is one of seven states without a personal income tax, and voters have rejected attempts to establish a personal or corporate income tax four times.