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Silicon Valley ‘Patriotic Millionaires’ Challenge Fellow Wealthy Californians to ‘Tax the Rich!’

High-Net-Worth Individuals Across Bay Area to Host ‘Tax the Rich!’ Conference  featuring former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, UC Berkeley economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez, and Men’s Wearhouse Founder and Patriotic Millionaire George Zimmer.

Patriotic Millionaires announce support for proposed challenge to Proposition 13, which would raise taxes for education, social services and health care funding.

SAN FRANCISCO - Millionaires from across the Bay Area--one of the nation’s centers of widening income and wealth inequality--will challenge fellow wealthy Californians to support higher taxes on the rich at the “Tax the Rich!” Conference on Nov. 6 in San Francisco. The conference, hosted by the Patriotic Millionaires, will feature  elected leaders, the nation’s leading economists, and wealthy supporters of raising taxes on the rich including Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer, among others. Please find a full list of speakers here. You can follow the livestream of the conference here.

The conference is part of a multi-year campaign launched in April by the Patriotic Millionaires--a group of hundreds of high-net-worth Americans, business leaders and investors committed to building a more stable, prosperous and inclusive nation--to defeat lawmakers nationwide who refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy.  In San Francisco, the group will throw their support behind proposed changes to Proposition 13, which are expected to raise $11 billion annually from increases in business and commercial property taxes for education, social services and health care.

"Thanks to Donald Trump and his 2017 tax bill, income inequality in this country has now reached its highest level in 50 years,” said Patriotic Millionaire and Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer. “That bill recklessly and unnecessarily slashed corporate tax rates by 40 percent. I’m here to challenge my peers in California to recognize that we need to bring back a fair tax code, one where those of us who benefit the most from our capitalist system help ensure that it also works for our employees, our customers and our communities. We can debate the numbers, but when it comes to recreating American greatness, the ones who extract the greatest share of the national wealth should be the ones who pay the most to restore it.”

University of California at Berkeley economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez, authors of a new book, The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay, are kicking off the “Tax the Rich!” Conference. Their findings - that the 400 richest Americans pay a lower tax rate than the bottom half of U.S. households - underscore the urgency of the Patriotic Millionaires’ campaign to push wealthy Americans to pay their fair share.

“In the system we now have, power and wealth are inseparable,” said former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. “Great wealth flows from great power; great power depends on great wealth. Wealth and power have become one and the same. Not only would a wealth tax raise revenue and help bring the economy back into balance, it would also protect our democracy by reducing the influence of the super-rich on our political system."

Since the first Tax the Rich! Conference in Washington, DC in April, members of the Patriotic Millionaires have met with members of Congress and organized events in their communities of wealthy individuals and business leaders to advocate for raising taxes on the wealthy. As part of the ‘Tax the Rich’ campaign, they are also highlighting the political value of raising taxes on the rich through district level polling; creating candidate training programs around tax policy; and endorsing challengers who are “tax champions,” as well as specific legislation that demands more from wealthy Americans.

“Most people in this country agree with our members and believe millionaires and billionaires should pay higher taxes,” said Patriotic Millionaires Executive Director Kelsea-Marie Pym. “Our members want their wealthy peers around the country, including here in Silicon Valley, to decide whether they are going to be part of the solution or part of the problem when it comes to inequality in America.”

According to recent polling conducted by ALG Research on behalf of Americans for Tax Fairness, 75% of likely 2020 voters support raising taxes on the rich. More still, higher taxes on the wealthy maintains healthy bipartisan support - 90% of Democrats, 70% of Independents, and 60% of Republicans - as evidence mounts that the Trump administration's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act overwhelmingly benefited America’s highest earners and largest corporations.

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