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Responsible Wealth Calls for Stronger Tax Provisions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, December 10, 2010

Responsible Wealth Calls for Stronger Tax Provisions in Obama-GOP Deal

Applauds House Democrats for Their Commitment to Strengthening the Plan

Boston, MA – Responsible Wealth, a nationwide network of more than 700 business leaders and high wealth individuals, vigorously rejects President Obama’s bargain with the Republican leadership on taxes announced Monday and applauds House Democrats for their commitment to improve the tax provisions in the deal. Mike Lapham, Responsible Wealth’s project director, issued the following statement on Friday:

“Responsible Wealth members recognize that in times of crisis, people at all economic levels need to pull together and share in the sacrifice. Our members oppose the Obama-GOP deal because massive tax breaks for multimillionaires and billionaires are fiscally irresponsible, won’t help stimulate the economy, and instead will pull us further apart.

“We got into this economic mess largely by giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy for the past 10 years. Now the GOP insists that the very same strategy will get us out of the mess. It makes no sense at all. If tax cuts for the rich resulted in job creation, we wouldn’t be where we are today. For the GOP, tax cuts for the wealthy are the prescription for every illness. To the contrary, the tax cuts themselves are part of the disease the nation is suffering from.

“Responsible Wealth members, who are all among the top 5% of earners and wealth holders, particularly oppose the estate tax portion of this deal. Rather than reinstating the 2009 estate tax levels, as most observers expected, Obama’s deal actually reduces the rate to 35% and raises the deduction to $5 million for the next two years. It is obscene and unnecessary, and it benefits no one but a handful of heirs of rich parents. The estate tax is reason enough to reject the deal.

“We applaud the commitment by Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats to reject the tax provisions and work toward a bill that helps working families, limits tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, and is fiscally sound. They understand that the loss in revenue from these tax breaks will be used to justify cutbacks that will hurt everyday people – schools, health care and other programs will end up being cut.

“The Republican experiment has failed, repeatedly. There is no excuse for giving it another two years, even in good economic times, which these certainly are not.”

Responsible Wealth member Jerry Fiddler, founder of Wind River Systems, and currently CEO of Zygote Ventures, added, “The Obama proposal gives away far too much on both top-bracket income tax rates and the estate tax. As a business owner, I resent being used as a poster child for weakening the estate tax or extending top tier tax rates. No business owner that I know of, myself included, makes business decisions based on paying estate tax. I’m proud and happy to pay the estate tax.”

Responsible Wealth, a project of the non-profit United for a Fair Economy, is a network of over 700 wealthy and upper-income business leaders, investors and inheritors who use their unique voices to advocate for progressive state and federal taxation and greater corporate accountability.


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