Washington voters reject income tax on wealthy

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington voters have rejected a state income tax on its top 1 percent of earners that supporters said would have raised billions for key education and health programs.

Initiative 1098 was defeated Tuesday by about 65 percent to 35 percent in unofficial returns. About 57 percent of the expected votes had been counted.

The $6.3 million campaign against the initiative was bankrolled by some of the most prominent names in Washington business, including Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer and Inc. founder Jeff Bezos.

Washington is one of seven states without a personal income tax. Labor unions and other supporters said the state’s tax system unfairly focuses on sales taxes, which consume a larger percentage of lower-income people’s wealth.