Sen. Sherrod Brown seeks 50 percent tax on Wall Street bonuses

Brown wants to impose a 50 percent tax on executive bonuses at firms that received aid under the $700 billion financial bailout package. The tax would fall on bonuses in excess of $25,000. Brown's legislation would use the revenue to support loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

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“It’s time for Wall Street to return the favor to Main Street,” Brown said.

Brown's bill comes on the heels of several similar efforts in the last two weeks as Wall Street pays out major bonuses to employees at firms that received bailout money. The House passed a bill in 2009 to tax bonuses at firms that were bailed out, but the Senate never approved a comparable bill.

There is no indication yet the full Senate will take up the latest bills.

The Obama administration appointed a special pay master last year to work through compensation packages at firms that received the most extensive bailouts.

Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation last week that would tax bonuses at firms that received at least $5 billion in bailout money. The Webb-Boxer bill would impose a 50 percent tax on bonuses for employees who made in excess of $400,000.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) also said last week that she was working on a tax bill that would impose a 50 percent tax on any bonuses exceeding $50,000 at "government-supported institutions."

Brown's bill is similar to a tax bill in the House sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

The new tax bills come after reports of financial institutions — including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and American International Group (AIG) — paying out major bonuses a year after receiving bailout money.

-- This article was updated at 2:10 p.m.