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Wealthy Taxpayers Give Away $1.5 million in Tax Breaks
"Stop giving us tax breaks! We don't need them and we won't accept them. I plan to give away my windfall from last year's capital gains tax cut. And I plan to speak out against all this year's proposals for more tax cuts for wealthy people like me."
- Bob Burnett, former VP of CISCO Systems, member of Responsible Wealth
Wealthy taxpayers organized by Responsible Wealth have pledged to give away their windfall from the recent capital gains tax cut, mostly to organizations working for fairer economic policies.
The Tax Break Pledge campaign began in 1998 as a response to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which benefited primarily wealthy investors. Even though they personally benefited from this change, these well-off taxpayers donated $1.2 million in 1998 to challenge tax policies that favor investors over wage-earners. As of today, 1999 Tax Break Pledges total $1.5 million, from the 76 pledgers who have already calculated their capital gains tax cut. More pledges will be made by April 15 and over the following month.
Responsible Wealth decided to continue the Tax Break Pledge in 1999 to oppose the following bills, which offer tax breaks exclusively or primarily to the richest taxpayers:
Responsible Wealth is a project of United for a Fair Economy, a national organization that spotlights growing inequality in income and wealth. Responsible Wealth's more than 400 members are all in the top 5% of income or wealth. Responsible Wealth's nine shareholder resolutions challenging excessive CEO pay were profiled in the Wall Street Journal on April 8.
Responsible Wealth Tax Break Pledgers Available for Interviews
Interviews can be arranged through Betsy Leondar-Wright at United for a Fair Economy, 617-423-2148 x13.
"I made a lot of money as a Vice President of CISCO. Now I'm starting new businesses and trying to create jobs. Why should we investors get special breaks while others are struggling to make a living? That kind of policy doesn't build a stronger economy."
"As a former CEO, I see the growing gap between big investors and average workers as a destructive trend for business and for our society as a whole."
"If I'm earning money as my stocks grow, and someone else is working hard as a teacher, why should I pay a lower tax rate than her? I would be ashamed to take such a hand-out."
"At a time of growing economic inequality, budget cuts in public services, high taxes for the working poor and middle class, and national crises in health care and education, why give more money to those who already have enough?"
"My initial investment of $1,500 in Lightspeed International is now worth about $26 million. Like most taxpayers, I try to reduce my taxes. But as a citizen, I'm outraged that people who work hard every day for their money are paying higher tax rates than me. That doesn't seem right."
"The growing domination of our political system by big corporate and individual donors is eroding our sense of democracy and our sense of community."
"Iwant to live in a society where we can all walk the streets with less fear, rather than some of us living in gated communities and others behind bars."
"As a wealthy person, I have benefited financially from the Reagan, Bush and Clinton tax cuts for the wealthy, but I don't believe that shifting the tax burden onto lower and middle class households is in our country's long-term best interest."
"We're told that the economy is booming, but there's something incongruous about this assertion when wages for the average working person are lower than in 1973."
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