Expect a push to seek voter approval in November for an income tax that hits couples earning more than $400,000 a year. Bill Gates Sr. and others are expected to announce an effort Wednesday to put Initiative 1077 on the ballot.... Advocates say a high-earners tax would cut the state property tax by 20 percent, end the business-and-occupation tax for small businesses, and start an income tax for couples earning more than $400,000 a year and individuals earning more than $200,000. They said the tax would raise $1 billion per year.
And a chunk of that $1 billion would come from gays and lesbians who would be discriminated against if I-1077 is approved by voters.
The language of the initiative specifies that the 400K threshold applies only to "married couples filing jointly"; the income tax would kick-in at 200K for all other "individuals." Gays and lesbians in Washington state who are in domestic partnerships—which are supposed to confer all the same rights and responsibilities as marriage (well, the ones controlled by the state)—would have to pay the income tax if their incomes hit 200K. The language of the initiative—which is here—is clear: high-income people in registered domestic partnerships would be treated as "individuals" under this law, should it pass, and they would pay a steep penalty at tax time.
“I am a strong supporter of reforming our state’s tax system to include a progressive income tax," says State Rep. Jamie Pedersen. "But I am very disappointed that so quickly after the voters approved Referendum 71 and the principle that same-sex couples and other domestic partners should be treated equally for all state law purposes, the drafters of Initiative 1077 decided to treat us as single people. I hope that the proponents of this idea will redraft and resubmit the initiative in a way that treats all families equally.”
Looking on the bright side: the initiative defines "individual" as a "natural person." Gays and lesbians could argue that we're not "natural," per the rantings of anti-gay bigots, and refuse to pay the income tax on those grounds.
I've got emails out to the backers I-1077—liberals and lefties all—asking them what the hell they were thinking.