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Wealthy can afford I-1098

Let’s explore the dire predictions in Bert Caldwell’s column (Sept. 12) that passage of Initiative 1098 would cause businesses to slow hiring and possibly move out of Washington.

An article from McClatchy News Service cited studies to the effect that the wealthiest 5 percent of taxpayers save 40 percent of their income. Since the income tax under I-1098 would apply only to the wealthiest 1.2 percent of Washington residents (couples earning above $400,000 and individuals earning above $200,000) it seems that most of those adversely affected by I-1098 could comfortably fund their increased taxes.

The wealthiest 1 percent in Washington currently pay an average of 2.6 percent of their income in state and local taxes, compared with an average of 5.2 percent paid by the wealthiest 1 percent nationwide. Failure to adequately tax this group means that Washington is 37th in the nation in per pupil funding of K-12 education (46th as a percentage of school funding to income).

I-1098 would raise $2 billion a year for education and health care, eliminate the business and occupation tax from 81 percent of businesses (and reduce it for another 12 percent) and provide property tax reduction for all property owners.

Donald Lamp



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