Steyer challenges Bloomberg to support wealth tax before entering Democratic primary

Steyer challenges Bloomberg to support wealth tax before entering Democratic primary
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Billionaire philanthropist and presidential hopeful Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerNew Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week Saagar Enjeti: Bloomberg 2020 bid would 'all but ensure a Bernie Sanders victory' MORE challenged former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergPress: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report Biden allies shrug off Bloomberg bid as 'laughable' MORE to support a wealth tax before joining the crowded 2020 Democratic primary.

“Today, I’m challenging Michael Bloomberg to support a wealth tax or not run for president," Steyer said in a statement. "In order to support progressive policies like universal health care and a Green New Deal, and address the wealth gap in our society, the Democratic nominee in 2020 must support asking the wealthy to pay more."

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"If Michael Bloomberg decides to support a wealth tax, I welcome him to this race," he continued. "If not, it’s very clear that he should not be the Democratic nominee. We cannot afford to have a Democratic nominee in 2020 who does not support asking the wealthy to pay more to address the enormous inequality in our society.”

The statement comes as Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, is expected to declare himself a candidate in the Alabama presidential primary ahead of the state’s filing deadline Friday.

The entrance of a second billionaire in the Democratic primary could fan the ongoing debate over how far Democrats should go in addressing income and wealth inequities as an increasingly activist base rails against the consolidation of wealth among the richest citizens.

Essentially every Democrat running for president has agreed that wealthier Americans should pay more in taxes, though they sharply differ on policy. 

Progressive candidates like Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden: 'I'm more of a Democrat from my shoe sole to my ears' than anyone else running Press: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism MORE (D-Mass.) have unveiled several plans to rectify economic and racial inequities and fight for various social justice efforts that hinge on boosting taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. Meanwhile, more centrist candidates have opted for more incremental changes. 

Bloomberg has hinted that he may be against some of the more liberal policies, saying earlier this year that Warren’s wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million is “probably unconstitutional.”