Friday, May 21, 2010

Bill Gates Sr. on Raising Taxes

According to an interview in Bloomberg News, Microsoft founder Bill Gates’s father, the retired Washington State lawyer Bill Gates Sr., wants his son to pay more in state income taxes. Mr. Gates Sr. supports a Washington State initiative to impose a state income tax on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $400,000. More specifically, individuals would pay a 5 percent tax on income over $200,000 and 9 percent tax if they earned over $500,000. Couples would pay 5 percent over $400,000 and 9 percent if they earned a combined income over $1 million.

According to the Department of Revenue for Washington State, Washington doesn’t collect personal income taxes. However, persons that engage in business in Washington State are subject to business and occupation and/or public utility tax. “Poor people and middle-income people are paying too much to support the state, and rich people aren't paying enough,” Mr. Gates Sr. stated in his interview.

I agree with the editor of, “if Mr. Gates Sr. wants to pay more in on a voluntary basis that is one thing, and like David Koch points out, it will mean he has less to give away to charity.” This would also apply to all others above the $200,000 threshold. Other opponents to this initiative and higher taxes say taxes like these will kill jobs.

Initiative 1098, as it is called, was co-authored by the Economic Opportunity Institute, a non-profit group in Seattle, and has drawn funding from the Service Employees International Union. Supporters must collect more than 240,000 valid signatures by July 2 to qualify for the November ballot.

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