The state of Washington, beset by budget cuts as are many states across the nation, is considering a radical step: an income tax on the rich. And Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his dad, William Gates Sr., are campaigning in favor of the measure that’s on November’s election ballot, as reported in The Los Angeles Times.
Washington hasn’t had a state income tax since 1933, but in a TV commercial that’s also on the Web, Gates Sr. takes a plunge into a dunk tank, surrounded by kids having a wonderful time. Soaking wet, he says, “Some people say Initiative 1098 is about soaking the rich. But it’s really about doing something for the next generation. You see, state cutbacks have put our kids at risk, and we can’t just sit here and do nothing about it.”
Of course, life’s not that simple: not all the wealthy are in favor of being “soaked.” Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com; and John Nordstrom of the luxury department store chain are firmly against it, and spending big to have their say.