Jeff sez, "As the Washington State Legislature wound down its special session to close a $2.8 billion fiscal deficit, Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith successfully used a carefully timed press conference making veiled threats about tax rates as a concern regarding future job expansion in Washington State. Led by Finance Chair Rep. Ross Hunter, a 17 year former Microsoft manager, the Legislature gave Microsoft two huge gifts: a $100 million annual tax cut and an estimated $1.25 billion in amnesty on its 13 year Nevada tax dodge. To make ends meet, the Legislature cut $120 million from K-12 education and $73 million from university budgets. It also raised the general tax rate on businesses from 1.5% to 1.8% and created new '7-11' taxes on the Average Joe on beer, soda and candy. The benefits of 4,700 at-risk unemployed people with disabilities will expire in the coming year. No word on how cash-strapped Washington plans to address Smith's concerns about its educational system and transportation infrastructure. On Wednesday, Gates' father, Bill Sr. announced a citizen initiative to replace the business tax with an income tax on high earners (>$200,000/yr). Asked if his son was on board with the tax initiative, Gates Sr. said, improbably, they hadn't discussed it. 'I don't know what my son is going to do.' Governor Gregoire said this isn't over: once the budget is signed into law, 'there will be real cuts, there will be real people losing jobs.' Yesterday, Microsoft reported record quarterly revenue. It now has $39.6 billion in cash and short term investments."