Thank you Representatives Cohen and Beyer for introducing the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax Act—a proposal put forward by President Biden earlier this year. I am here representing the hundreds of national and state organizations that are part of American for Tax Fairness—a coalition of human needs groups, unions, think tanks and more. We are working together to create a fair tax system, which is essential to creating an economy that works for all of us.
Already more than 50 national groups in the ATF coalition have endorsed your legislation. Many more will do so in the coming days. Taxing billionaires is our top priority this election season. Constituents and voters want to know whether their elected representatives are standing with them or with the 700 richest people in the country.
Let me summarize why we believe the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax is a cornerstone to creating a fairer tax system.
- It is critical that billionaires who now go income tax-free, or pay a low tax rate, start paying closer to their fair share. Congress must end the scandal of billionaires paying a lower tax rate than teachers, nurses and firefighters.
- It is essential that our tax system start treating income from wealth the same as income from work. Workers’ paychecks are taxed all year, every year. But billionaires can go a lifetime without their investment income being taxed one penny unless they sell their assets. It’s time to end that inequity and tax the growth in the value of investments like we tax wages.
- America’s 700 billionaires should be paying much higher taxes. Since the beginning of the pandemic, their wealth has grown by $1.5 trillion. They are 50% richer today than in March 2020. Their $4.4 trillion in wealth is much more than the wealth held by the bottom half of American society.
- This tax will raise at least $360 billion and probably a lot more—money that will lower the costs to working families of childcare, healthcare, housing, education and much more. Too many people are struggling. They need your help, Congress—this is a way to pay for it
- Polling shows that the American people want this tax—by overwhelming margins. It has very strong support among Independents and often from a majority of Republicans.
Finally, our democracy needs a billionaire income tax. Billionaires are literally buying elections. They pumped $1.2 billion into the 2020 federal elections, 40 times more than they donated in 2010. They contributed $1 out of every $10, while making up just a very tiny share of all donors. They are creating and funding super PACs with millions of dollars to elect candidates who will do their bidding. Working Americans know the system is rigged. Enacting a Billionaire Minimum Income Tax will start to rebuild trust in our tax code, our economic system, our democracy. So, let’s get it done.