TechNet Northwest, the bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, today released a statement urging defeat of Washington State Income Tax Initiative 1098.
The following is a statement from John Drescher, Executive Director of TechNet Northwest:
“Should Washington State Income Tax Initiative 1098 pass, it will have destructive unintended consequences. Entrepreneurial capital – the lifeblood of Washington’s vibrant start-up tech community would be under severe pressure to move elsewhere, bleeding jobs to the 46 other states whose tax code would be more welcoming. Washington’s innovation economy is in a constant battle to attract the best and the brightest. Adding to that burden the need to sell prospective employees on the 4th highest personal income tax in the country will cause many to avoid Washington altogether and take their talent elsewhere.
“Those targeted by this tax are also the most able and willing to legally avoid paying it, by moving their businesses and jobs to a state where they can do exactly what they do now, without the added tax burden this act imposes. With a state unemployment rate of 9 percent, why force the hand of Washington job producers in this way?
“Oregon understands this first hand having recently passed a similar hike on income taxes on its wealthy, but realizing only half of the expected revenue from it. And The Oregonian just reported that Oregon businesses will be one of the chief beneficiaries of a passed 1098, as it would help them overcome their recently self-imposed competitive disadvantage.
“Idaho has a track record of trying to poach Washington companies, especially from the Spokane area so close to its border, and a passed 1098 will further help its effort. And it was just reported that Texas Governor Rick Perry has aggressively reached out to nearly 100 business leaders in our state welcoming their companies to relocate south to his state – one ‘with no personal income tax now, and no interest in getting one,’ he writes. His case is a good one, if 1098 were to pass.
“Washington has been blessed by the entrepreneurial genius of Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Bill Boeing, Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz, and others less well known. But we have no entitlement to these successful leaders, or the hundreds of thousands of jobs they have created for our state and nation. In fact, by poisoning the climate for success that heretofore has led many of our colleagues to settle in this beautiful place, there is every right to worry that the next generation of technology and business success stories will be written elsewhere.
“1098 would hurt all Washingtonians for years to come, from the most successful tech companies, right down to the public employees for whom unions are spending millions to get this enacted. Should 1098 pass, there will not be enough people left in the ‘most able to afford it’ category to fund the jobs this act aims to save. So, in two short years, Olympia is sure to expand and extend this tax to us all, as the law allows, further exacerbating Washington’s competitive disadvantage. And no, a vote of the people is not required to expand this tax, as the slick ads for Initiative 1098 falsely claim.
“But all of this need not come to pass if we defeat Initiative 1098. Please vote No on Initiative 1098 – for all of Washington. For those ‘most able to afford it,’ yes, but especially for those least able to.
“This is the first time that TechNet Northwest has taken a formal position on a Washington state ballot Initiative. Since its inception in 2003, no other issue has so galvanized our membership over concern for the competitive disadvantage 1098 would impose on Washington businesses. For all of Washington, we urge a No vote on Initiative 1098.”
TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. TechNet’s members represent more than one million employees in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, e-commerce and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, DC, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston and Austin. Web address: www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @technetupdate.