Early returns show voters rejected Initiative 1098 being rejected with about 65 percent of the vote to 35 percent in unofficial returns.
Initiative 1098 would institute a new state tax on the top 1 percent of incomes to pay for education and health programs while trimming state property and business taxes. The campaign follows January’s overwhelming decision by Oregon voters to increase taxes for corporations and wealthier households.
"I'm particularly gratified the way Initiative 1098 is going down to defeat. I don't think we're going to see that kind of initiative back anytime soon," said former Senator Slade Gorton.
Initiative 1098 campaign was referred to as the "battle of the billionaires."
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his father are among the wealthy Washingtonians who joined labor unions and other traditional Democratic allies to support the tax-the-rich ballot measure. Opposing 1098 were Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Boeing, Russell Investments, Paccar Inc., software billionaire Charles Simonyi and members of the Nordstrom family.
And, big money was thrown into the fight. Supporters of the initiative spent more than $6.1 million, while the campaign against it spent more than $5 million of the $6.4 million raised.