FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 15, 2015
CONTACT: Brent Carney
Wealthiest Americans Call on Congress to Raise Their Taxes
(Boston, MA and Washington D.C.) – As Americans raced to beat the annual tax filing deadline, Washington D.C. - based Voices for Progress and Boston - based Responsible Wealth, a project of United for a Fair Economy, announced today that a letter signed by more than 150 of America’s wealthiest 1% of citizens is being sent to member of Congress calling for a tax increase on the wealthy to help support the middle class.
Reform proposals would raise the top rate tax on capital gains to 28% for couples making at least $500,000 and eliminate the loophole that allows wealthy heirs to avoid paying capital gains on billions of dollars in inherited assets.
“Rather than helping to address our growing inequalities, our tax system includes loopholes - more than $1.9 TRILLION in capital gains tax breaks alone - that benefit the wealthiest Americans who are financially stronger than ever,” said Mike Lapham, Director of the Responsible Wealth Project. “This disparity is very clear to middle-class Americans as they finalize their 1040s.”
Among those to sign the letter include:
Garrett Gruener – founder of Ask.com
Abigail Disney – film maker, and Disney family member
Nancy Stephens – actress and activist in CA
Brian Arbogast – Seattle based angel investor
Gun Denhart – Founder of Hanna Anderson
Bill Gates Sr. – father of Microsoft’s Bill Gates
Tedd Saunders – family owns Lenox Hotel
Craig Newmark – founder of Craigslist
Arnold Hiatt – former Chairman of Stride Rite Shoes
Robert Crandall – former CEO of American Airlines
Jeffrey Hollender – co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation
The full text of the letter coordinated by Responsible Wealth and Voices for Progress is included below and can be signed here. A full list if signers is available upon request:
Dear [member of Congress]:
We are among the 1% of Americans who would feel 99% of the impact if Congress approves President Obama’s proposal to shift some of the vast sums now being spent on tax breaks for us to a better use: boosting the middle class, and making investments in education and child care that will create jobs, prepare our children, and strengthen the economy. We heartily support the President's proposals to 1) raise the top rate on capital gains to 28% for couples making over $500,000, and 2) eliminate the step-up in basis for capital gains on inherited assets.
The current unfair rules will give us and other wealthy Americans $1.3 TRILLION in tax breaks over the next ten years by taxing our income from investments at rates far below what other Americans pay on their paychecks. Those rules will give us an additional $640 billion “free pass” by allowing us and our heirs to avoid ever paying any tax on billions of dollars in capital gains. It’s past time they were changed.
Those of us who founded or run businesses know well that the key to job creation is not tax breaks on our income, but providing opportunities for America’s children and building a robust middle class that can afford to consume our products and services.
We would not have our current wealth if we had been born in a country that lacked the services our government provided — including federal support for schools and universities that have prepared us and prepared our employees, for research and innovation, for roads and public transit, for our judicial system and law enforcement, and the national defense. We would not have even our current health if it weren’t for the government safeguarding our food, water, and medicine, preventing epidemics, and helping find cures for disease.
Yet today, Congress is foolishly shortchanging the investments needed to strengthen our economy now and in the long-run. Federal funding for investments like early care and education, medical and scientific research, and developing energy efficiency and clean energy, has been slashed from $580 billion in 2010 to $492 billion in 2014 — a 15% cut in just four years. And under current law, these cuts will become even more severe.
The money currently being spent on tax breaks for us can be far better spent to restore these critical investments in education, create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and ensure America’s economic future.
[Note: to sign the letter, please click here]