Newsletter: Nov. 20, 2009

Hello friends,

Progressive taxes are back in the news this week, with a new Associated Press poll showing support for taxes on upper-income Americans to pay for health care. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they favored a tax increase for individuals earning more than $250,000 a year.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering the idea. The House health care bill would create a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on households making more than $1 million, and we’re seeing reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may try to raise the payroll tax on incomes above $250,000, to increase Medicare funding.

What do you think of these proposals? We’d love to have your feedback. Please take a moment to answer our survey on progressive tax proposals.

And elsewhere in the world

Business leaders and wealthy individuals are organizing – and making a pitch to government for progressive taxes. A group of Germans have proposed a 5 percent wealth tax for two years. It could raise 100 billion Euros, they say, and help the country out of the financial crisis.

Here’s a quote from their petition, which was submitted to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The path out of the crisis must be paved with massive investment in ecology, education and social justice.

Those who had “made a fortune through inheritance, hard work, hard-working, successful entrepreneurship, or investment” should contribute by paying more to alleviate the crisis.

LISTEN to Wealth for the Common Good co-founder Chuck Collins discussing the proposal on PRI’s The World.

Stop tax haven abuse

We’re getting ready to launch our second campaign petition, calling for an end to overseas tax haven abuse. Responsible businesses are at a competitive disadvantage when other firms hide assets in tax havens and avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Working closely with our partner Business for Shared Prosperity, we’re mobilizing a business and investor voice to support the “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” (S506, HR 1265). Stay tuned for the petition launch.

In the meantime, Wealth for the Common Good is still gathering signatures for our petition to reverse the Bush-era tax cuts for households over $235,000, since we know this debate is going to heat up in the coming months. If you haven’t already, please sign the petition.

Events and workshops

Wealth for the Common Good is teaming up with Minnesota-based Growth & Justice to sponsor several conversations about state and federal tax issues in early December. To learn more, contact Ann Manning at ann@wealthforcommongood.org.

And last week we had the opportunity to participate in the annual Making Money Make Change retreat for young donors in Falls Village, Conn. Throughout the past year, we’ve worked closely with Resource Generation (one of the retreat’s co-sponsors) to hold workshops on taxes for young people with wealth in cities across the country.

We’re inspired by a younger generation’s commitment to truly progressive reform and the role young people are playing in the campaign. For information about upcoming workshops, contact Alison at alison@wealthforcommongood.org.

Featured signer

Rachel Durchslag, Executive Director, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation

“Put simply, I believe in progressive tax reform because it is socially just for people to give according to their ability and receive according to their need.”