Democrats reintroduce bill to create ‘millionaires surtax’

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
Greg Nash

A group of Democrats on Thursday reintroduced legislation to create a “millionaires surtax” after ProPublica earlier this week published a report detailing the taxes of some of the richest Americans.

The bill would create a 10 percentage point surtax tax for income above $1 million for individuals and $2 million for married couples. The surtax would apply both to wage income and investment income.

“Right now, everyday Americans are shouldering our nation’s tax burdens, while many of the very richest skate by without paying their fair share. This is fundamentally backwards – and creates a growing opportunity gap that is harder and harder for American families to overcome,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), an author of the bill, said in a news release. “It’s time to right this wrong.”

The reintroduction of the legislation comes after ProPublica published a report that found that some U.S. billionaires, such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, had some years where they paid little to no federal income taxes. The report has reignited calls from Democrats to increase taxes on the wealthy.

The bill’s reintroduction also comes as lawmakers are debating how to pay for infrastructure spending. Biden has said that he wants to pay for his spending proposals through higher taxes on corporations and high-income households, but Republicans are opposed to reversing the tax cuts they enacted in 2017.

“Our legislation would require the wealthiest to pay their fair share and help prevent tax avoidance, which has been an enormous problem in enforcing our tax code,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), another author of the bill. “It would also benefit working people by providing revenue to help offset the cost of key legislative initiatives, for instance infrastructure investments. This is an idea whose time has come.”

Other sponsors of the bill include Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The bill is also backed by a number of progressive advocacy groups and labor unions.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Chris Van Hollen Elon Musk Jeff Bezos Jeff Merkley Sherrod Brown

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