CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN GOMEZ INTRODUCES “99.8 PERCENT” ACT TO ADDRESS AMERICA’S WIDENING WEALTH GAP

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[Economics\Wealth Inequality]
Congressman Jimmy Gomez: “The ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us has reached alarming proportions and demands a strong legislative response. No longer can we allow this structural power imbalance – one where the billionaire-class hoards the very wealth working families helped to create – define our nation’s values and priorities."
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) introduced legislation to enact a progressive tax on the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

The For the 99.8% Act – modeled after legislation introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders – ensures that the 0.2 percent of estates that are worth over $3.5 million will finally begin paying their fair share of taxes. In addition to allowing the other 99.8 percent of estates to pass along inheritances tax-free, this legislation also closes tax loopholes that have allowed billionaire families to avoid paying their fair share of taxes when passing their fortunes from one generation to the next. Under the For the 99.8% Act, the families of all 588 billionaires in America would owe up to $2.2 trillion in estate taxes, amounting to revenue that can be used to address critical needs for working families and the most vulnerable among us.

“The ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us has reached alarming proportions and demands a strong legislative response,” said Congressman Gomez. “No longer can we allow this structural power imbalance – one where the billionaire-class hoards the very wealth working families helped to create – define our nation’s values and priorities. Through my legislation – the For the 99.8% Act – we can take a progressive step forward in addressing our country’s rapidly increasing wealth inequality by strengthening the estate tax and ensuring the wealthiest among us pay their fair share. I’d like to thank Senator Bernie Sanders for joining me in our shared mission to level the economic playing field for the working-class and transform our economy into one that works for every American.”

We are facing levels of inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of the robber barons, where the top one-tenth of one percent owns about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “The richest 400 billionaires pay lower taxes than everyone else. In my view, this obscene inequality in wealth and political power is not compatible with a democratic society. I am proud that Representative Gomez is leading three dozen members of the House in introducing the For The 99.8% Act to tax today’s dynasty trusts and curb their power, while raising trillions of dollars for the essential programs we need as a country.”

“If we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few, America needs to create a fair share tax system,” said Frank Clemente, Executive Director for Americans for Tax Fairness. “The For the 99.8% Act is a critical step towards that goal. It will raise well over $300 billion that can be used to help people afford healthcare, improve our schools and rebuild crumbling infrastructure across the country. It’s high-time the wealthy and their multi-million-dollar estates start paying their fair share.”

Original co-sponsors of the For the 99.8% Act include the following 37 members of Congress:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), André Carson (IN-07), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Judy Chu (CA-27), Steve Cohen (TN-18), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Mike Doyle (PA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Jesús García (IL-04), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Sander Levin (MI-09), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Mark Takano (CA-41), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

The For the 99.8% Act is endorsed by the following 80 organizations, which sent this letter of support to Congress:

AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), American Family Voices, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Teachers, American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Americans for Tax Fairness, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Blue Future, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), Center for Popular Democracy, Children's Advocacy Institute, Coalition on Human Needs, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Congregation of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces, CREDO, Daily Kos, Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, EPI Policy Center, Faith Action Network, First Focus Campaign for Children, Franciscan Action Network, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Health Care for America Now, Indivisible, Institute for Policy Studies - Program on Inequality, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), In the Public Interest, Justice in Aging, Main Street Alliance, MomsRising, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), National Coalition for the Homeless, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), National Council of Churches, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Education Association, National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Organization for Women, National WIC Association, National Women’s Health Network, National Women's Law Center, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, New Rules for Global Finance Coalition, Other 98, Our Revolution, Patriotic Millionaires, People Demanding Action, People’s Action, Public Citizen, Responsible Wealth, RESULTS, RootsAction.org, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Small Business Majority, Social Security Works, Tax Justice Network-USA, Tax March, The Arc of the United States, UnidosUS, United Automobile Workers (UAW), United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries United for a Fair Economy, United Steelworkers (USW), UNITE HERE, Voices for Progress, Working America

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