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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Proposed Income Tax Would Discriminate Against Domestic Partners

Posted by on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 10:21 AM

The big news:

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.


Comments (86) RSS

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Um, this is stupid. You only pay a penalty if one of the two partners has a very high salary and the other does not. This will affect approximately 2 people in the state of Washington (though I'm guessing you're one of them, Dan).
Posted by F on April 21, 2010 at 10:32 AM · Report this
I'd be happier if they cut the 400K for any pair of people - hit everyone with over 200K in income - that's plenty of money earned before the tax comes into play - if you've got that much, pony up
Posted by myr on April 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
very bad homo 3
200k is, by any definition, a rich person.
Posted by very bad homo on April 21, 2010 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Ness 4
Dan, all your posts today are awfully depressing. All the bad things that are being done against gay rights and how douchy people can be. Could we just have one nice thing, please?

Posted by Ness on April 21, 2010 at 10:42 AM · Report this
JF 5
@3 What if you have 150K in yearly obligations? Ae you still rich?
Posted by JF on April 21, 2010 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 6
A chunk would come from gays and lesbians but this isn't a law that actually discriminates against gays and lesbians per se. It penalizes hetero domestic partners too (and arguably more, since our side of the pool statistically still far outnumbers yours).

What's more bullshit is that the more I read about this is that it's a pre-emptive strike against Oregon type action. Read the bill more closely, Dan. More evil is afoot:

1. Locks the tax rate in at a low value and forces a legislative majority AND a new voter action to increase it. The rich are striking to prevent the legislation (or us) from putting together something tougher later and to make it much harder to raise this tax later.

2. Look at all the other tax cuts. Won't this lead to an overall tax footprint reduction on the wealthy, and less state revenue?

When you look closely at the law--really closely--but don't read down it makes it sound like it's just shifting tax responsibilities around. I don't think that's actually the case. You guys need to dig more into this and not take the gay/straight side on any fight over this. Something fishier is going on with the numbers.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 21, 2010 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Thanks for bringing attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing more. The taxation issue can be a big one for DPs. From my personal experience here in WA as one half of a DP, it is not only confusing, but unfair. For instance, my other half is covered under my employer medical and dental (for which I'm very grateful, and it is pretty generous coverage). But it's considered a part of my taxable income, unlike married couples. Our property-ownership arrangements and yearly IRS filings are onerous, and always involve an attorney to navigate the confusing and sometimes contradictory county, state and federal laws regarding property ownership, purchase, sale and taxation - which have happened as a result of selling and buying a house together. Then there's the "gift tax" issue - got a frightening letter from the IRS last year over this issue, thankfully resolved (again, attorney and accountant fees...). We can manage it because my other half makes a good living and can afford it, but I really can't imagine how middle or lower income DPs deal with all of this. We're fortunate in WA that we at least have the new DP legislation; in other states just getting basic inheritance or joint ownership can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. On this particular issue, I'm all for paying our fair share, but hope the law will be applied equally. I look forward to your follow up.
Posted by svartkatt on April 21, 2010 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Probably one of two reasons.

1) The administration is probably done based on IRS tax forms, which doesn't allow domestic partners to file jointly, which is very unfortunate but outside of the cope of this initiative.

2) Simple oversight.

Posted by John Jensen on April 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 9
@8 IIRC some states actually base their state collection levels on a fixed percentage of what you pay in Federal.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 21, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
I agree with John Jensen, it probably was an oversight and could probably be amended (it also gives more ammo to the pro-gay marriage position). But even so, it's not really a very big deal. The most extra you could be taxed would be about $10,000. That is assuming you are in a domestic partnership, where one of you has no income and the other makes exactly $400,000. That's because this is a 5% tax on the excess over the first $200,000. Considering this also cuts property tax (and people making close to $400,000 probably own some nice property), you're going to have a hard time getting people to cry that much for you.
Posted by arbeck on April 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM · Report this
I agree it's probably an oversight (still pretty inexcusable, though), but Joe @6 raises some good points. Keep digging, I want to know what's going on.
Posted by Ben on April 21, 2010 at 11:05 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 12
What if you have 150K in yearly obligations?

What the fuck does that mean? If you mean any number of things that are tax deductible, your taxable income is only $50,000.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Anne in MA 13
@ 1 - Oh yeah. Because SO few couples have one individual take on more of the domestic duties while the other serves as the primary breadwinner. A couple with serious disparities in their income? That's just unheard of.

In a state filled with computer entrepreneurs and still heavily populated by Microsoft Millionaires, this probably affects a hell of a lot of people, the vast majority of whom are straight. The state of Washington can't claim that their domestic partnership laws provide all the state benefits of marriage, then pass something like this.
Posted by Anne in MA on April 21, 2010 at 11:08 AM · Report this
cant say i feel anything like sorry for people earning 200,000+ a year. will they even notice this amount of money being taxed?
Posted by sallybobally on April 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM · Report this
very bad homo 15
@5 - Yes.
Posted by very bad homo on April 21, 2010 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Porcupine 16
200k is, by any definition, a rich person

False. Just ask a person that makes 200k. We need comprehensive tax reform. Too often patching up a broken system makes things worse.
Posted by Porcupine on April 21, 2010 at 11:20 AM · Report this



....Faggots Hit Hardest, Savage Complains.....

Posted by wait while I run find my Violin... on April 21, 2010 at 11:20 AM · Report this
I have to say I agree generally with #2 as far as the tax in general goes, but I'm a dirty socialist sympathizer.

I can't say I'm too apprised of the facts regarding domestic partnerships, but I do agree that if it is *supposed* to come with ALL the rights and benefits of marriage, and this *particular* benefit is not extended to the domestically partnered, then there is a problem with either the claims of domestic partnership or the way this law treats the issue.
Posted by krista1203 on April 21, 2010 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Speaking as a gay leftist of relative privilege, I can say that I wholeheartedly support a progressive taxation system that includes a state income tax for the wealthiest citizens.

I can also say that full marriage equality is a nontrivial issue, and this oversight (or whatever it is) is hurtful.

I would probably vote for it anyway and try to get it amended later, but it would be politically smarter to make the DP/marriage thing a non-issue right off the bat so as not to alienate many likely supporters like me.

I have a note into Burbank asking about his continuing influence in this legislation. Knowing some of the very lefty, very gay friendly (and just plain ol' gay) people behind this initiative, it would surprise me if we couldn't get it changed.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 21, 2010 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 20
@18 Might be a state legal conflict too, that could result in a discrimination suit. But ironically, one that could be filed by an unmarried man and woman.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 21, 2010 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Telsa Grills 21
@6: Thank you for pointing that out. It saves having to reiterate.

Dan, your focus is misdirected. There are two matters to address: one, I-1077 and R-71 must agree, given that the referendum effects nearly all rights and legal responsibilities to which marriage is endowed (except, well, the title marriage being the big 'un). I-1077, passed as written, would be all but brought before a constitutional test question in Olympia.

Second, your gripe on "natural persons" is petty and petulant, though probably no more so than when I gripe how in some U.S. states (which shall not be itemized here), I'm not even considered human, as transsexuals are excluded from progressive human rights law. Really. I'm serious, come what may. So, either put up, shut up, or get in line behind me and mine, as I've been standing here waiting a hell of a lot longer than you, the cissexual, have. Again, really.

Don't buy it? Offer me a beer at the Elysian next time I'm back in Seattle and I'll gladly spill the legal acrobatics which lay it all out nice and unpretty. Consider it a flavour of schadenfreude entertainment.
Posted by Telsa Grills on April 21, 2010 at 11:33 AM · Report this
elenchos 22
Someone with an income of $200,000 per year is by definition a rich fucker. Rich fucker. Look it up in the dictionary.
Posted by elenchos on April 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM · Report this
@20 - or a married couple filing separately, it would seem...
Posted by krista1203 on April 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Zoroastronomer 24
How about going libertarian and getting government out of marriage altogether?
Posted by Zoroastronomer on April 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Vince 25
I think this will open the door to an overall income tax.
Posted by Vince on April 21, 2010 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Fnarf 26
Individuals earning over $200,000 make up considerably less than 4% of the US population. Even assuming that Washingtonians are a bit richer than the US average, that's still an extremely small slice of affected people. If they aren't "rich", then the word "rich" doesn't have any meaning.

@5, what kind of obligations? If your mortgage is $150,000 a year, then, yeah, I think you're pretty rich (and you'll probably get it back from the property tax decrease). If you're sending your kids to Lakeside and Harvard without scholarships, then yes, I think you're pretty rich. If you're making payments on a Maybach, you can afford to pay a reasonable amount of tax on your huge income.
Posted by Fnarf on April 21, 2010 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Porcupine 27
Rich (or wealthy) implies you have a lifestyle distinct from those that must work for a salary. This is certainly not the case for people that make 200k which in most cases are salaried and have pretty much the same lifestyle as another making 100k.

Rather than "tax the rich fuckers" it's really more of a "lets target the upper-middle class" to fill a gap in the ever growing state budget. And this is just the start.
Posted by Porcupine on April 21, 2010 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Thanks for raising this issue, Dan. While I'm on in favor of moving away from the current regressive tax structure, I concur with your sentiment that we should stand by our commitment to fairness to same-sex couples. At the federal level those couples already pay a higher tax than their married counterparts. My own husband and I paid an extra $5,500 in federal income tax last year simply because our marriage is not recognized by the federal government for tax purposes. To extend that unfairness to the state level and again tax those couples more than their straight counterparts is fundamentally unfair and contrary to the state's commitment to treat civil partnerships the same as marriages.
Posted by BP on April 21, 2010 at 12:24 PM · Report this
what he really meant:
"Prposed income tax would discriminate against Dan and Terry"
Posted by ian on April 21, 2010 at 12:29 PM · Report this
@27 --

No one is rich. You're all just upper-middle class.

250k per year is what Obama talks about when he talks about rich.

200k per year is probably about right for our state.
Posted by six shooter on April 21, 2010 at 12:31 PM · Report this
I agree that marriage should not be a part of the income tax equation. I think also that people should not be rewarded for having more kids by our income tax laws.
Posted by Barbara on April 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
We were thinking if you can't get your act together to get legally gay married in some state of the union, tough.

Now it's YOUR problem, rich white gay dudes.

You just have to find ONE state where you can get legally married. If you're so lazy you can't ... and you make that much ... well ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM · Report this
lythea 33
I think, porcupine, that it can be justifiable to call someone rich even if they won't be able to support all their descendents in idleness for the next 50 years. 20,000 is enough for one person to live on without too much difficulty...if you a person earning ten times that isn't rich then your perspective is hopelessly warped by excessive priviledge.
Posted by lythea on April 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM · Report this
The Magic Lemur 34
boooo fuckin hoo hoo, Dan. I think it's pretty obvious that this pisses you off because -YOU'LL- have to pay it, not because it's somehow discriminatory.
Posted by The Magic Lemur on April 21, 2010 at 12:41 PM · Report this
The Magic Lemur 35
Seriously, Dan: Trying to stoke resentment against a sound, resonable way to excise taxes from those who can afford them while weakening taxes on small businesses (which are the MOST fucked by taxes) by couching it as a gay rights issue? I hate to say it, but how ROVE-LIKE of you, Dan. Been watching a lot of Fox News lately?
Posted by The Magic Lemur on April 21, 2010 at 12:45 PM · Report this
For this to be a problem one person would have to make over $200k a year.

Fewer than 1% of all people make over $200k a year. Fewer than 5% of all people are in domestic partnerships. Total percentage of people affected - .05%. Percentage of those who are rich: 100%
Posted by F on April 21, 2010 at 12:49 PM · Report this
venomlash 37
It is discriminatory, I could argue, but frankly, I think that we all have bigger fish to fry in terms of gay rights.
Posted by venomlash on April 21, 2010 at 12:57 PM · Report this
The proposed income floor isn't indexed to inflation. It is, however, based on your Federal Income Tax AGI.

You might not be super upper-middle class but you have to be pretty upper-middle class if you can't get your AGI below $200K.

Interesting to note, if you claim dual residency in another state, you only have to pay your share of this tax based on the amount of you that lives here.
Posted by six shooter on April 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
very bad homo 39
@16 I don't know anyone who makes even close to that amount.
Posted by very bad homo on April 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
The Magic Lemur 40
@37: It's discriminatory by coincidence, if anything. I'm half expecting Dan to start calling it a Gay Tax or something equally Tea-Partyish. If, like 6, Dan wanted to discuss why this law might end up being worse for Washington, that'd be understandable, but no. He went and made a gay rights issue where there was none.
Posted by The Magic Lemur on April 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Dingo 41
Of course it's a gay issue. How dense must you people be not to understand that? If straight people can get domestic partnered AND married, and gay people can get domestic partnered but NOT married, and this applies only to married people, it's obviously discriminatory. Jesus. When you have to explain this shit to people who are supposedly a little more informed than the average Christianist right winger, then what hope is there for the rest of the American population?
Posted by Dingo on April 21, 2010 at 1:14 PM · Report this
elenchos 42
Earning $200k a year does buy you about the same lifestyle as earning $100k per year. More or less.

Except for having twice as much money to spend. Other than that, more or less the same. Come to think of it, if you make $100k, that's basically the same lifestyle as $50k. People who make 100 Gs aren't like space aliens to people making 50. Which means $200k per year is more or less equivalent to $50k. Which brings me to $50k being the same as $25k which is the same as $200k.

And actually, don't people making $400k have an awful lot in common with those making $200k? Meaning that $400k the same as $25k. All just folks really.

The fallacy of the beard, ladies and gentlemen. The fallacy of the beard.

Posted by elenchos on April 21, 2010 at 1:28 PM · Report this
The Magic Lemur 43
@41 Gay marriage is the issue that should be pushed here, then. I agree with the notion of "There. Now it IS Rich White Gay Dudes' problem". Again, if it's discriminatory, it's by coincidence, not concerted effort. I'm very much for gay rights and not discriminating, but SOME folks seem to think anything short of preferential treatment IS discrimination. It sucks that you can't get married, but assuming this tax change is on the up-and-up and would help small businesses (and thus, your state's economy), then screaming about it ecause a completely unrelated law fucks you over isn't necessary. I'm pro-gay-marriage. I'm also pro-taxing-people-who-can-fucking-afford-to-be-taxed. Hell, I think EVERYONE who makes over 200k a year should be taxed upwards of 50% of their income, REGARDLESS of marital status.
Posted by The Magic Lemur on April 21, 2010 at 1:28 PM · Report this
This measure is outrageous. This creates a direct financial pentalty for being gay. If you're gay, well off and married or in a domestic partnernerhsip, you'll pay more taxes than an identical straight married couple with identical finances. It's creating an extra "gay tax."

My husband and I are perfect examples of people who will be hit hard by this. I have a comfortable salary in the mid $200Ks as an attorney; he has a salary of about $30K for working at a nonprofit. I'm not asking for any sympathy. We're definitely fortunate to be well-off, and I'm a firm believer in progressive taxation where people with higher incomes should pay more.

We were legally married in California two years ago (before Proposition 8 passed), and as further insurance we registered last November as domestic partners in Seattle, where we live, after R-71 was defeated. We've done everything possible to have our thirteen-year relationship recognized and to be treated equally.

Under DOMA, we already have to pay one "gay penalty" tax to the IRS. We're both treated as "single" according to the IRS. Because of this, we pay several thousand dollars more in federal taxes each year than a straight married couple with identical finances. That's an extra tax for being gay. That's on top of the indignity of being told by the IRS that we're both "single" and nothing more than roommates.

Under the new proposed referendum, we'll again be treated as "single" people in our own state -- where we've followed the rules and registered as domestic partners, supposedly with all of the benefits and obligations as straight-married couples. The proposed new system will codify discrimination by treating gay couples differently than straight couples for purposes of taxation. Because my income is above the $200,000 threshhold for "singles," we'll have to pay extra taxes. If we were stratight and married, we would not have to pay these taxes. This is another tax for being gay.

Other states, like Massachusetts, have avoided this with their income taxes by allowing gay married couples to file separate tax forms, in which they are taxed under state law the same as straight married couples. It's cumbersome (a lot of extra paperwork), but it works, and it shows the state's dignity and respect for its gay citizens. It's appalling that the organizers of this referendum have not considered such a system here.

I fully support the intent of this referendum -- I'll be the first in line to pay additional taxes, as long as it's nondiscriminatory. Unless this referendum is fixed, however, I ask everyone who supports equality to OPPOSE this referendum. I hate that we might have to align ourselves with the Tim Eyemans and the other right wing, antitax wingnuts, but we can't codify antigay discrimination into our tax laws.
Posted by Xyzzy on April 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 45
@41 Jesus, calm down. Most of us here are on Team Human Fucking Decency already.

My point @6 was just that--yes, it's discriminatory--but rather than turn this into a massive fight to drag in the religious whackadoodles and other social defectives it should be smoked out for what it appears to be: a backdoor not to a state income tax but an overall reduction in the state's tax footprint. This thing reeks of Eymanism.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 21, 2010 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 46
@44 No one is arguing it's not discriminatory to gays, but it's also discriminatory to EVERYONE who isn't married, and probably isn't even legal. This proposal has a ton of legal avenues it can be attacked over.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM · Report this
How about we pass another bill next legislative season saying that gay domestic partners get all benefits and responsibilities as married couples granted by the State.

Every new State bill, initiative, referendum, or degree from the Governor that touches taxes, married couples, or family law will discriminate in some form or another unless we either:

1. Allow gay couples to get married for real
2. Enact law after law saying "we really mean that domestic partners are the same as married couples"
Posted by six shooter on April 21, 2010 at 2:12 PM · Report this
You should be happy to pay more, that's just $$$ you would have wasted on high-end, gold plated dildos. Now that money can go to help bums instead of going up yer it were.
Posted by Save the Bums on April 21, 2010 at 2:13 PM · Report this
We just passed a historic state law that recognizes domestic partnerships. The purpose of that law was to make gay and lesbian relationships equal to heterosexual marriage under state law. That measure was approved by a large majority of Washington citizens in R-71 in an historic election.

Please stop the silly "this measure discriminates against everyone who's single" argument. Gay and lesbian people cannot get married under Washington law. However, R-71 was intended to give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as marriage under Washington law. Unless we are treated the same for taxation as straight married couples, it's discrimination, plain and simple. It's saying that committed gay couples should pay more in taxes than straight couples.

Why would we now go AGAINST what we passed last year and write discrimination into our tax code?
Posted by Xyzzy on April 21, 2010 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Porcupine 50
They won't able to support all their descendents in idleness for the next 50 years? If you make 200k and stop working you couldn't support *yourself* for more than a few years in the best case. Sadly (or stupidly) many such people live pretty much month to month.

You are of course right except for this little thing called taxes. The extra 100k income going from 100k to 200k will get taxed at more than 30% (soon to increase) plus other federal taxes. Moreover you lose a lot of deductability and benefits like mortgage interest, retirement accounts, etc. Comfy, sure. Rich, no.
Posted by Porcupine on April 21, 2010 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Please slow down, speak more slowly and enunciate carefully.
We are naught but humble dense retarded fuckedup Americans, it is difficult for us to keep up with your Canadian intellectual brilliance and overweening moral superiority.
Posted by 1 Fuck Yourself. 2 Die. 3 repeat. on April 21, 2010 at 3:37 PM · Report this
I'm with #37 on this.
Posted by Dire Mongoose on April 21, 2010 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Lurleen 53
@37 said: "It is discriminatory, I could argue, but frankly, I think that we all have bigger fish to fry in terms of gay rights."

I disagree because if we agree to ever let the principle of equality be chipped away, we can expect more chipping away in the future. Many people will not care about this because they resent people with money. However, it sets a VERY bad precedent to ever say "sure, treat us like 2ns class, AGAIN".
Posted by Lurleen on April 21, 2010 at 4:22 PM · Report this
I just received word that the initiative's drafters are working on a satisfactory resolution, and I trust they will follow through on it.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 21, 2010 at 4:28 PM · Report this
venomlash 55
@37: This isn't targeted at gays (as far as we know), so the issue of a slippery slope is irrelevant. Like #40 said, it's discriminatory by coincidence.
Also, getting marriage equality would solve the potential discriminatory nature of this initiative.
Posted by venomlash on April 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Report this
Yes, it's only discriminatory through oversight, but WA state has marriage equality in (almost) everything but name through the DP registry, so this particular snafu exposes the initiative to greater risks (alienating potential supporters, not passing legal muster, and other considerations).

Better to get the initiative right because it could be a huge leap toward getting progressive taxation in WA state.

Like I said, they're working on fixing the problem.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 21, 2010 at 4:50 PM · Report this
@55: I respectfully disagree. This is not "discriminatory by coincidence." This is simply discriminatory. I might agree with "discrimination through well-intentioned ignorance and stupidity," rather than malice, but I care about the effects of the law (a new system of separate and unequal taxation in which gay people are thrown under the bus), not the reasons.

The measure divides people into two categories, those who are "married" and those who are "individuals." It completely ignores domestic partners. Those who fit into the first category will pay less in new taxes (overall).

It's a complete throwback to the days before domestic partnership recognition. This would create a new form of discrimination, less than a year after we abolished the old forms of discrimination through domestic partnerships (which are supposed to convey the SAME RIGHTS as marriage).

This also isn't just about money. It's a personal kick in the gut to me every year when I have to check the "single" box on my federal tax forms. I'm not "single," and I resent being treated as such. I can at least understand DOMA under the federal system as an old relic that will hopefully be changed soon.

What I can't understand is why we would even consider codifying new forms of discrimination in Washington, less than a year after we passed "everything but marriage" domestic partnership. Yes, full marriage equality would solve this, but that won't happen for five or ten years (at least).
Posted by Xyzzy on April 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM · Report this
@57, this initiative has been in the works for many years now, since long before the DP legislation was passed, and before R-71 was defeated. I'm almost certain it was a simple oversight by people who have been shaking a lot of hands trying to get this highly improbable legislation as far as it has gotten already.

No, it's not an oversight I would have overlooked, but I haven't been working diligently trying to bring progressive taxation to Washington. I'm certainly willing to cut my friends in public service a break on this one, especially since they have acknowledged the snafu and indicated they're trying to resolve it quickly.

The people who have been working on this--again, for years, now--are not enemies of teh gay. I'm sure of this.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 21, 2010 at 6:40 PM · Report this
@58, thanks. I haven't heard any acknowledgment of this from them yet, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they can fix this.
Posted by Xyzzy on April 21, 2010 at 6:52 PM · Report this
GOD DAMMIT! I ALREADY PAY 80% MORE IN FEDERAL TAXES BECAUSE I'M NOT *DOMA* MARRIED! I'm not opposed to paying a State income tax, BUT FUCK ALL! I'm MARRIED! REALLY! The goddam California Supreme Court said so! Quit fucking making me pay more just because I'm a FAG!


Thank you.
Posted by gay dad on April 21, 2010 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Posted by gay dad on April 21, 2010 at 7:26 PM · Report this
The last thing I'm worried about are the dozen fags in this state that make over 200k. Tough shit.
Posted by robot ghost on April 21, 2010 at 7:28 PM · Report this
Robot Ghost, I hope you work for a lesbian at Microsoft so she can fire your sorry ass and leave you unemployed for the next twenty years.
Posted by gay dad on April 21, 2010 at 7:37 PM · Report this
venomlash 64
@{60, 61, 63}: Ragey much?
Posted by venomlash on April 21, 2010 at 7:46 PM · Report this
watchout5 65
What I think is BS is the strait married couples where the guys pulling 350k a year won't pay into it, just because he's decided to own a woman. That's a much bigger story here than the poor committed gay who make more than 200k alone a year but less than 400k when with their partner, and will contribute a little more into state programs. I'm playing the worlds smallest violin right now.
Posted by watchout5 on April 21, 2010 at 11:56 PM · Report this
I'm a little surprised by all the class angst expressed in this thread over a salary like $200k, which is certainly "rich" by world standards and comfortable pretty much anywhere in the U.S. But by San Francisco or Manhattan standards? It's barely upper middle class. A salary like $200K would just barely afford a modest row-home or flat in a decent-but-not-upscale neighborhood in S.F.

People who make $200k, as a class of people, are as far removed from the American super-rich as the 95 percent or so who make something less than $200k. A single-earner household earning $200k in Seattle is, like, a fairly nice Craftsman somewhere in west Ballard with tasteful accent walls and kids who can bring their own vegan lunch to school. It's fucking common. Microsoft alone provides thousands of such incomes.

People who are prone to class warfare: your real enemy is much, much further out on the bell curve than you can possibly imagine, apparently. We're talking about families who possess the wealth of entire quintiles.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 22, 2010 at 12:21 AM · Report this
The Hipsters who write and post on Slog have been squealing for a "progressive" Washington state income for years.
Of course they are in the 47% of Americans who pay ZERO Federal Income Tax so- sure!- they think it's a great idea; another tax for Somebody Else to pay....
So finally a serious proposal for an income tax comes along and, what?!- the best Dan can come up with is to squeal like a stuck pig that it will DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAYS... whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Dan feels about income tax the way he does about
Putting (Y)Our Bodies On The Line
for The Cause-
it's some one else'e job.....
Posted by toothy on April 22, 2010 at 7:49 AM · Report this
venomlash 68
@67: I'm sorry, I don't speak Leotard. HURR DURR?
Posted by venomlash on April 22, 2010 at 8:05 AM · Report this
@66 Your comment on the giant disparity between the earners in the 97th to 99th percentile and the top 1% is certainly true, however the proposed income tax is not an attempt to fix that disparity. It is instead a blanket tax for this demographic, at 5% of income from $400k to $1 million (up to $30k) and 9% thereafter (I'm dealing with the family income as those numbers are readily available with multiple news sources).

The idea of income relativity only holds so much weight, as in urban areas such as San Francisco, Manhattan, and Seattle there are higher percentages of those who fall into the taxable bracket. The fact that there exists a market for these people does not justify their income as untaxed. There are admittedly numerous factors affecting the cost of living in all of those places, but to justify it this way is a simplification of a much broader inequality problem. Taxation is not about enemies. If you feel that the nation (or state, in this case) is punishing you for making extra money then your idea of a democracy being representative in the slightest of those who constitute it is flawed. This is using a portion of the income that has been given to you by society (justify the income in litigation as 5-100 times that of those who teach) in order to improve the same society. It is surprising to see such recoil and anger from such a minute tax, as the 5% which applies to most who would be taxed under this law is by every measure a miniscule tax comparatively to other high-income brackets. And now I just pray my point will not be lost in the rambling that is it's expression.
Posted by ib+ on April 22, 2010 at 8:30 AM · Report this
@69, as I've said here, I favor progressive taxation, including an income tax. Please: tax me. Tax me at a higher rate than people who make less than I do.

My only point, really, was that people who make $200k (I'm not one of them, though I make more than my fair share of the GDP), are people who have an income, and therefore may contribute to the tax base. Some of the comments in this thread seem to regard $200k as excessive wealth.

The people who really fuck up wealth distribution are the people who hold such a grossly disproportionate share of the wealth that they neither have nor need an income.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 22, 2010 at 9:10 AM · Report this
@70, absolutely, wealth is a whole different game. from an article called What Americans Had: Differences in Living Standards (Fischer & Hout), "In 1998 the median American household was worth $61,000, with the home itself constituting $43,000 of that... ... Households ranking between the 80th and 90th percentiles were worth an average of over $340,000 and the top 1 percent over $10 million." From Wolff, "Recent Trends in Wealth Ownership", for the top 1 percent, 7.8% of their gross wealth is in their principal residence, versus 28.8% for the next 19 percent and 59.8% for the middle 3 quintiles (21th to 80th percentile).

That being said, income is compounded generationally and becomes a large factor in wealth.

* I know its kind of douchey with the numbers and references, but I'm just a touch sick of the amount of untraceable (and therefore deceptive) shit that gets thrown around in comment sections in general, and these forums aren't immune.
Posted by ib+ on April 22, 2010 at 9:44 AM · Report this
Who cares if $200k income is rich or not, why should gay couples be treated differently under the regime than straight couples. If using the federal classification would violate state law either in letter or in spirit, then why use that as the basis?
Posted by madcap on April 22, 2010 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Anyone making $200,000 a year should be able to comfortably retire after 10 years, if even that. That's rich/wealthy by any definition.

Just because some dumb motherfuckers are incapable of managing their money doesn't change their current status (R-I-C-H) in society - it just makes it shorter lived.
Posted by lololol on April 22, 2010 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Here in Massachusetts, we gay marrieds build a shadow federal return that reflects what our taxes would be if the federal government recognized our marriages. The state, for which we file a joint return, uses those shadow numbers for their calculations. Washington should perhaps do something similar. The shadow return is a pain, but it makes sense until DOMA goes away.
Posted by heyref on April 22, 2010 at 12:22 PM · Report this
"It's fucking common."

It is not fucking common. What part of top 1% do you not understand?
Posted by F on April 22, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
The "part of top 1%" I don't understand is "top 3%," which is whom I-1077 affects, or about 200,000 Washington State residents.

Pigeon poop doesn't cover every sqaure inch of downtown Seattle, yet it is "common." Widespread. If you take a walk downtown, you are likely to see some pigeon poop and probably at least one person who makes $200,000 or more annually. This is because both pigeon poop and people who make more than $200,000 are commonly found in downtown Seattle.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Nationally it's top 1%. Where are you getting the 3% number from?
Posted by F on April 22, 2010 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 78
Never forget that the poll today shows 66 percent of Washington Voters will vote to support a tax on the rich.

That it happens to include rich gay couples should probably give it another 4 percent ... mostly on the East side of the Mountains.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 22, 2010 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Telsa Grills 79
@78: Good god, people. This has gotten totally absurd.
Posted by Telsa Grills on April 22, 2010 at 3:18 PM · Report this
@77, from the Yes on 1077 website's FAQ:

"Imposes a high-earners income tax only on the wealthiest 3 percent of households."
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 22, 2010 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Yes, and that it happens to treat married gay people as individuals whose tax bracket kicks in at half the income of their married heterosexual counterparts may score big points as well in eastern Washington, as well as among fickle "progressives" who couldn't sleep well at night without pretending to be fierce advocates for equality, but who can't be bothered to respect the provisions of the DP law (even when it's easy to do).

Never mind that the DP laws weren't intended to single out poor queers for near-equality. Uppity fags know exactly where you stand.
Posted by Meat Weapon on April 22, 2010 at 4:49 PM · Report this
venomlash 82
I keep parsing "DP" as "double penetration". DAMMIT!
Posted by venomlash on April 22, 2010 at 4:55 PM · Report this
There are lots of these married vs. single tax benefits that disadvantage gay couples whose marriages or domestic partnerships aren't recognized in their home state or by the federal government. Some of them involve income limits and others don't. The income limits ones are hard to complain about, because rich people complaining about paying taxes is obnoxious. Even more obnoxious, though, is the fact that even richer people are excused from paying the same taxes (the heterosexual married couples).

The federal home buyers tax credit is another example of one of these tax disparities. The income limit for single taxpayers is $125,000; the limit is $225,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. So if one partner in a same-sex marriage makes $125,000 or more, no $8,000 credit for you. But if one partner in a heterosexual marriage makes $224,999 and the other doesn't work, they get an $8,000 check from the federal gov, courtesy in part of gays who weren't able to enjoy the same benefit.

Also, everybody's always freaking out about how social security is going bankrupt. One thing that's keeping it afloat? No survivor's benefits for gay couples. All that money you paid into the system over your entire working lifetime? It disappears when you die. Into the pockets of straight people who qualify for benefits you don't enjoy. And your widow or widower, left with nothing, gets kicked to the curb.
Posted by clemens on April 22, 2010 at 5:58 PM · Report this
Noticed your post on a national blog. I'm here in Seattle, was a friend of Microsoft's first employee, Ric Weiland, saw him a few weeks before he shot himself, and have Bill Gates Sr's e-mail.

Send me your best shot. I'll forward it to him, and his assistant (maybe the biggest challenge - more on that after you send your best shot).
Posted by Dan B on April 23, 2010 at 1:12 AM · Report this
Why is "getting married" an activity to be subsidized in th4e first place, straight or gay?

say you have two guys, age 75, retired, straight, they live together. say they are brothers. they can't get married. or a bro and sis. one makes $300K the other one nothing, just lazes around watching tv. well they can't get married. but if it's two folks who can get married, say a long term couple, then they get married, they get a tax benefit.


Why do we presume married = dependent?

even a dependent kid only gives you a deduction not sheltering up to $200K of your income.

This will create a huge market for trophy wives.

Is that our reason? to make rich guys marry the girlfriends they've been keeping, thus sheltering half their income (if they make $400K)?

Posted by not a trophy on April 23, 2010 at 9:08 AM · Report this

You do understand that "high income" and rich are not always synonymous.

You could have a person with billions in assets and showing a 1 million a year "income" based on interest and dividends.

Simultaneously, you could have a contract developer working his ass off 100 hours a week to try and put money aside to start a business, and this bill would take that money away from him.

And guess who's sponsoring the bill. Yep...a family with a lot of assets and who would not like to see a lot of competition in their little fiefdom of WA State.
Posted by Robin Dude on April 23, 2010 at 6:41 PM · Report this

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