Figures lie, and liars figure is an old saying. In Bill Gates Sr.'s “I Love Our State” ad, the first part of the old saying is true. Mr. Gates talks about how the state property tax will be cut by 20% which is true. However if you are expecting your property tax bill to be cut by 20% if this initiative passes, you are sorely mistaken. The state portion of your property taxes is only one portion of the overall property taxes that you pay. Thus, if you live in King County and your home is assessed for $300,000, then your taxes will go down by about $133, or about 4% which is far less than the 20% you might reasonably expect. The ad also never refers to the new tax as an income tax. Why not? Probably because it is considered taboo to say to voters, and because our state constitution makes it unconstitutional to tax property disproportionately. Income has been ruled to be property in the past, so the supporters of this “excise tax” cannot say it is an income tax. Now, Mr. Gates is well intentioned and everything he says in the ad is true, so he is not a liar. He merely spins the figures and chooses his words carefully to put his position in the best possible light, which in politics-well, that just is politics.
Admittedly, I am against a state income tax, mainly because the tax will be expanded to more taxpayers. How do I know? History tells us so. Just look at our current federal income tax that was established in 1913. Below is an excerpt from the United States Department of Treasury Website:
"By 1913, 36 States had ratified the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. In October, Congress passed a new income tax law with rates beginning at 1 percent and rising to 7 percent for taxpayers with income in excess of $500,000. Less than 1 percent of the population paid income tax at the time. Form 1040 was introduced as the standard tax reporting form and, though changed in many ways over the years, remains in use today." [Bold was added.]