I’ve been wondering for a while about the balance of I-1098’s income tax provisions with respect to geography. So I crunched the numbers, and it turns out that it will likely have a vastly disproportionate impact on King County. Take a look:
King County only holds about 28 percent of the state’s total households. Yet it is home to a whopping 57 percent of the state’s households bringing home more than $200,000 per year. By contrast, every other county in the state is under-represented in high-earning households. And the biggest under-representations seem to be in rural counties, particularly in eastern Washington. In fact, all the counties east of the Cascade crest combined account for 21 percent of the states’ households, but only 11 percent of Washington’s high-earning households. (Note that the figures in the charts are rounded, which is why they don’t add up to exactly 100 percent.)
As a reminder, Initiative 1098 would levy an income tax on single-filer households earning more than $200,000 per year and on joint-filer households earning more than $400,000 per year. My analysis here, which is based on recent data from the Census’ American Community Survey, isn’t a perfect match for understanding the initiative for several reasons. My figures lump all households together whether they are composed of single or joint tax filers, and they rely on a slightly different definition of income than 1098 employs. Still, as a rough proxy, I think the depiction is basically solid.