The campaign to get I-920 on the ballot was primarily bankrolled by Martin Selig, a Seattle skyscraper developer, and Dennis Falk, a wealthy former Seattle police officer. Falk’s involvement has been particularly controversial. Falk leads the John Birch Society. In 1978, Falk co-chaired Save Our Moral Ethics, an unsuccessful campaign to repeal a law barring housing and employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. 
Supporters of I-920 claim the estate tax is an unfair burden on small business. They claim that if small businesses leave Washington, support for local schools will be eroded. They also contend that the 2005 legislature’s decision to renew the estate tax contradicted I-402, which was passed in 1981.
Criticism of I-920 has focused on two main points. First, critics argue that the estate tax is the most efficient way to raise revenue for education and that repealing the tax will compromise educational infrastructure, especially for the poor. Second, critics point out that the tax is graduated and therefore only impacts those most able to pay. They argue that the proponents of I-920 have used the rhetoric of small business interests to create tax breaks for the extremely wealthy. Family farms, for example, are completely exempt from the estate tax. Last year, the Washington Estate Tax affected only 250 of the wealthiest estates.