For my money, the best thing yet written about Initiative 1098 comes from Don Barbieri, chairman and former CEO of Red Lion Hotels. It appeared yesterday at the Spokane Spokesman-Review:

…it is the 40 years helping build and lead a company that forms my conviction on why we really need 1098.

Simply put, Red Lion and my predecessor companies weren’t a success because of my leadership. They prospered due to the great associates with whom I worked. It is their lives and their children’s futures that are at stake.

They have allowed me and my family to be financially secure while many of them are at risk and falling behind. Their hope of the American Dream, of a healthy family with college education is dimming while I prosper. How can that be right?

Our tax system is unfair. When I look at our employees I see entry-level workers hoping for a future. But how can they get there? The lowest 20 percent of our work force pays 17 percent of their income in state and local taxes. The middle income associates pay over 10 percent while I pay little more than 2 percent of my income in state and local taxes.

This recession shows that unless our employees and their children get a good education, their future is doubtful.

And it gets better from there. Barbieri understands the details of Washington’s economy, and he understands the perils facing working families. Go read the whole thing.