U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Introduction of “Buffett Rule” Tax Reform Legislation

The Paying a Fair Share Act would prevent President Trump from letting the wealthiest Americans pay lower tax rates than many middle-class families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With income inequality soaring to a level not experienced in America since prior to the Great Depression, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin helped reintroduce legislation to prevent America’s top earners from paying lower tax rates than middle-class families. The Paying a Fair Share Act, also known as the “Buffett Rule,” would ensure that multi-million-dollar earners pay at least a 30% effective federal tax rate. The measure would reduce the federal deficit by an estimated $119 billion over the next decade.

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ tax bill unfairly favored powerful corporations and the top 1%. We need to make sure millionaires and billionaires at the top are paying their fair share so we can cut taxes for the working class and small businesses, and rebuild our middle class,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to once again join Senator Whitehouse to introduce the Paying a Fair Share Act to make the ‘Buffett Rule’ a reality. This legislation will ensure that our path forward is guided by fairness and a respect for hardworking middle class families.”

“We are living through a new Gilded Age, cemented by President Trump’s massive tax giveaway to the wealthy,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Basic fairness needs to be restored to the tax code.  Hardworking teachers, nurses, and police officers pay their share in taxes. The wealthiest Americans who benefit the most from our economic system should not be allowed to exploit tax loopholes to skip out on doing their part.”

In 2016, the highest-earning 0.001% of Americans – making an average of $145 million each – paid an average effective federal tax rate of just 23%, far short of the top marginal rate of 37%. The Paying a Fair Share Act would apply only to taxpayers with income over $1 million, including capital gains and dividends, and would phase in over their second million dollars in income. The bill includes language to preserve the incentive for charitable giving. Directions on how taxes would be calculated are available here.

The “Buffett Rule” is named after Warren Buffett, the legendary investor who has famously lamented that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Former President Barack Obama proposed adding the Buffett Rule to the tax code to ensure that those at the top pay at least the tax rate paid by middle-class families.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).