Washington Tax Initiative Divides Big Names in Business


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Some of Washington state's biggest names in business are on opposite sides of an effort to impose an income tax on the state's wealthiest residents. On one side is Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, who each contributed $100,000 this week to a campaign fighting off the income tax effort. On the other is Bill Gates Sr., father of the Microsoft co-founder and a longtime supporter of a change to the state's tax structure. Gates Sr. has given his time and $500,000 to the effort.

All would be taxed under Initiative 1098, which would impose a 5 percent tax on any income above $200,000, or $400,000 for couples. Individuals who make more than $500,000, or couples who make more than $1 million, would face a 9 percent tax on income above that amount.

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