Excerpted from an editorial I posted at my personal blog:
Last week, 84 year-old William Gates Sr., father of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, launched a ballot initiative that would create an income tax in Washington State for high income earners. The initiative would raise $1 billion for education and health programs while cutting property taxes by 20 percent and eliminating most small business taxes.
In initial polling, 66 percent of residents favored Gates Sr.'s initiative. But when asked if his son supported the measure, he said they hadn't discussed it, "I don't know what my son is going to do."
Both Gates' are known for their public service and philanthropic leadership. Gates Sr. has campaigned for tax fairness for years and co-authored, "Wealth and Our Commonwealth " in support of the estate tax. His son co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation providing innovative global leadership and financing for public health and development issues. Admirably, the younger Mr. Gates has dedicated his fortune and more recently, his time, to critical global causes. But this is not the whole story.
When it comes to taxes in Washington State, Mr. Gates has led an aggressive campaign to minimize Microsoft's corporate tax bill that has contributed significantly to our state's recent budget crisis.
I’m not sure why Mr. Gates and Microsoft put the thumbscrews to Washington's citizens when it comes to taxes. ... No one wins if Washington's budget woes deepen and its infrastructure fails. If his father's initiative passes, Microsoft's high earning employees will have to pick up the tab for the company's aggressive tax tactics.
...The leadership and wisdom of octogenarians like William Gates Sr. is just what our state needs right now.