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Jayapal, Warren, Boyle, Reintroduce Ultra-Millionaire Tax on Fortunes Over $50 Million

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), along with Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02), Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.), reintroduced the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, popular, comprehensive legislation that would bring in at least $3 trillion in revenue over 10 years by requiring that the top 0.05 percent of American households chip in 2 cents for every dollar of wealth over $50 million. The newly introduced version of the bill includes stronger rules on trusts, a common method the ultra-wealthy utilize to avoid paying taxes that cost the federal government between $5 and $7 billion annually.

For decades, a small group of families have raked in a massive amount of the wealth American workers have produced, while America’s middle class has been hollowed out. The consequence is an extreme concentration of wealth not seen in any other leading economy. According to Saez and Zucman, the richest top 0.1 percent has seen its share of American wealth triple from 7 percent to 20 percent between the late 1970s and 2019, while the bottom 90 percent has seen its share plummet from about 35 percent to 25 percent.

This comes as President Biden has also stated that his administration will be cracking down on billionaires who are not paying their fair share in taxes.

“As millions of families struggle under the weight of inflation and massive corporations continue price gouging to boost CEO pay, it’s time to tax the rich and level the playing field to ensure that every American has a chance to succeed. The system is not working when the richest one percent of Americans own more than 30 percent of our nation’s wealth but pay just 3.2 percent of their wealth in taxes while others pay twice as much. Our country’s tax system needs urgent reform, and the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act is a major step toward making sure the wealthy finally pay their fair share. With this legislation, we can narrow the racial wealth gap and invest trillions of dollars in schools, clean energy, housing, health care, and more to improve lives in communities across America,” said Jayapal.

“As President Biden says: no one thinks it’s fair that Jeff Bezos gets enough tax loopholes that he pays at a lower rate than a public school teacher,” said Warren. “All my bill is asking is that when you make it big, bigger than $50 million dollars, then on that next dollar, you pitch in two cents, so everyone else can have a chance.”

“As the son of a union household, I witnessed every day how incredibly hard my parents worked to build a middle-class life for our family. It is simply wrong that millions of hardworking families pay a higher tax rate than billionaires,” said Boyle. “This legislation will fight back against Republicans’ decades-long scheme to rig our tax code against middle-class families and in favor of multi-millionaires and billionaires.”

The Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act would create a fairer economy through:  

  • A 2 percent annual tax on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 million and $1 billion
  • A 1 percent annual surtax (3 percent tax overall) on the net worth of households and trusts above $1 billion
  • Strong anti-tax evasion and avoidance measures on wealth held in trusts

“A tax on wealth above $50 million is super popular. It can fund public investments, such as ensuring families aren’t crunched with the high costs of raising a child and caring for an elderly parent at the same time. In contrast, Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress want to cut taxes for billionaires, which will force cuts to Social Security and other lifelines for families. We are proud to support Senator Warren and Congresswoman Jayapal’s wealth tax legislation and encourage all members of Congress to sign on and join the fight for tax fairness,” said Emma Lydon, managing director of P Street.

“The only way to truly tackle the injustice of income inequality in this country is to address wealth hoarding. The Ultra-Millionaire Tax is a critically needed policy that would ensure that the super-rich who have benefitted from a rigged system will begin to pay their fair share in taxes,” said Susan Harley, managing director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

“Wall Street billionaires and multi millionaires have used their wealth and power to shape laws that result in their tax rates being much lower than the rates paid by working people. Enough is enough. Requiring the ultrarich to pay a tax on their wealth is an important step toward economic justice,” said Lisa Donner, executive director, Americans for Financial Reform.

“Nobody accumulates $1B without exploiting workers, communities, or the environment,” said Porter McConnel, senior director at Take On Wall Street.

“If we’re serious about addressing extreme wealth inequality and closing the racial wealth divide, then we need to get serious about taxing the wealthiest Americans. The Ultra-Millionaire Tax is a big step in the right direction,” said Mandla Deskins of Take on Wall Street.

“America’s 741 billionaires are now collectively worth an astounding $5.2 trillion and the top 1% holds almost a third of the nation’s wealth. Contrary to popular belief, billionaires and millionaires like me do not amass such extraordinarily large fortunes because we work harder or because we are more talented than Americans who work for a living. Instead, it’s because we rigged the tax code so that wealthy people like us who make most of our money off our assets pay next to nothing – or sometimes literally nothing – in taxes. The Ultra-Millionaire Tax will be an important first step in requiring the rich to finally start paying their rightful share in taxes, thus reining in the destabilizing level of economic inequality that plagues our country and threatens our democracy,” said Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires and former managing director at BlackRock.

“Most people know there’s a big gap between the super-rich and everyone else when it comes to income: how much we make each year. Fewer realize there’s an even bigger gap when it comes to wealth: how much we own. We’ll never create a land of equal opportunity until we start to curb the hoarding of great fortunes through a tax on hyper wealth like Sen. Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax. Without imposing a penny of tax on 99.95% of our nation’s households it will raise trillions of dollars in revenue to lower costs, improve services and expand horizons for America’s working families,” said David Kass, executive director, Americans for Tax Fairness.

“For too long, the ultra-wealthy in America have been able to dodge taxes on a large scale. As a result they often pay much less, relative to their ability to pay, than the rest of the population. The ultra-millionaire tax would address this fundamental unfairness, and raise critical revenues for much needed investments that would make the country – and us all – richer,” said Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, economists from the University of California-Berkeley.

“True economic freedom includes the right of ordinary people to operate in politics and the economy without our interests being squashed by the super-wealthy. An Ultra-Millionaire Tax would rein in plutocracy and promote economic prosperity for everyone. The huge gulf between the haves and have-nots, leaves us vulnerable to the immoral and despotic appeal to white-supremacy. It’s time for transformative policies to address the massive concentration of wealth at the top and the long legacy of racial injustice in our country, and the Ultra-Millionaire Tax is a critical step forward,” said Darrick Hamilton, a University Professor, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and the founding director of The Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School.

“Our economy should reward work, not wealth hoarding. But working people face higher tax rates than the wealthy who accrue billions off stocks and other unearned assets without working. The Ultra Millionaire Tax Act can help balance the scales and restore fairness to the system. By simply asking the wealthiest 100,000 households to finally pay their fair share, we could generate at least $3 trillion in revenue over 10 years. That money can transform our communities for the better when we invest it in health care, child care, schools, libraries, infrastructure and more. AFSCME strongly endorses this legislation, and we applaud Sen. Warren and Rep. Jayapal for this important legislation,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

The Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act is sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Representatives Don Beyer (D-Va.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.), Jesus Garcia (D-Ill.), Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Glenn Ivey (D-Md.), Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Summer Lee (D-Pa.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.)

The following organizations have endorsed the legislation: AFL-CIO, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, American for Financial Reform, American for Tax Fairness, Center for Law and Social Policy, Climate Hawks Vote, CWA, Take on Wall Street, Health Care for America Now, Indivisble, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Jobs with Justice, Liberation in a Generation, Main Street Alliance, MomsRising, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Education Association, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Oxfam America, P Street, People’s Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, United Steelworkers, Public Citizen, Sunrise Movement, SEIU, United for Respect, Unemployed Workers United, AFGE, and Voices for Progress.

The text of the bill is available HERE.