Wealthy Taxpayers To Give Away Tax Breaks

Press Release
For Immediate Release - April 13, 2000
Contact:Betsy Leondar-Wright
(617) 423-2148 x13

Wealthy Taxpayers To Give Away Tax Breaks

Over $3 million donated since 1998 in "Tax Fairness Pledge"

"The capital gains tax cuts have unfairly benefited all of us able to sit and watch our money grow, while penalizing those who earn their living from the sweat of their brow."

– Bill Creighton, small business owner and
member of Responsible Wealth

At last weekend’s Responsible Wealth conference, wealthy taxpayers launched the third annual "tax fairness pledge" to protest disparities in who gets tax relief. They called on people with large capital gains to give away their windfall from the 1997 capital gains tax cut to organizations working for fairer economic policies.

The Tax Fairness Pledge campaign began in 1998 as a response to the Taxpayer Relief Act, which benefited primarily wealthy investors. Over a million dollars was pledged in each of the last two years. (The pledge form, a parody of IRS tax forms, can be downloaded from Responsible Wealth’s website.)

Tax cuts are a major issue in the presidential campaign, with candidates arguing over their proposed tax policies. Almost two-thirds of the tax cuts from George W. Bush's December plan would go to the best-off 10 percent of taxpayers, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. Taxpayers in the lowest 60 percent of the income scale would get an average cut of $249, while the wealthiest one percent of taxpayers would get an average tax cut of $50,166 a year. Responsible Wealth believes tax policy should reduce, not increase, economic inequality.

Responsible Wealth is affiliated with United for a Fair Economy, a national organization that spotlights growing inequality in income and wealth. Responsible Wealth has 450 members, who are business people and investors in the top 5% of income or wealth.

Responsible Wealth Tax Fairness Pledgers Available for Interviews:

Interviews can be arranged through Betsy Leondar-Wright at United for a Fair Economy, 617-423-2148 x13.

Bill Creighton

"I have had the great luck to inherit wealth. The capital gains tax cuts have unfairly benefited all of us able to sit and watch our money grow, while penalizing those who earn their living from the sweat of their brow. This is simply wrong. The fact that our government is unwilling to set fair tax policy does not absolve me of my social responsibility."

  • President and founding board member of Maine Initiatives, a non-profit foundation.
  • Owner of Sea Tow Midcoast Maine, which provides commercial marine assistance.
  • Works as an emergency room nurse.
  • Will donate his $11,723 capital gains tax break to Maine Initiatives.

Martin Rothenberg

"In three high-tech start-ups that I am familiar with -- my previous company, my present company and my son’s company -- the amount of capital gains tax to be paid if the company is successful was never a consideration that affected the motivation or performance of the employee shareholders. The proposition that it is a factor is a smokescreen to justify less taxes for wealthy investors."

  • Founder and former CEO of Syracuse Language Systems, an educational software company.
  • Founder and President of Glottal Enterprises, a manufacturer of computer-based systems for the remediation of speech communication disorders.

Michele McGeoy

"Why should money making money be taxed at a lower rate than people making money? I want my daughter to grow up in a more equitable society than that."

  • Created a software company in San Francisco, California; sold it in 1993.
  • Currently CEO of RH Solutions, software company.
  • Founder of a non-profit that provides technology and training to high-school students.

Sue and Art Lloyd

"We just don’t believe in giving more tax benefits to the wealthy. We don’t think it benefits the economy as a whole. We’d rather see the money used for community development. God made the earth for everyone to share in its goods."

  • Reverend Art Lloyd is a retired Episcopal priest.
  • Both are active in community development projects in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • They will add their $9,733 capital gains tax cut to their annual philanthropy plan.
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