WV could earn 335 million a year from billionaires’ income tax / Public News Service

State advocacy groups say West Virginia stands to gain from taxing billionaires.

The Biden administration’s “Billionaire Minimum Income Tax” would ensure that U.S. households worth more than $100 million pay a tax rate of at least 20% of their total income.

West Virginia Citizen Action executive director Gary Zuckett said the move could add between $220 and $335 million a year in federal grants to the state budget.

Zuckett explained that federal grants fund state programs and services, such as Medicaid and CHIP, Head Start, and food and nutrition programs.

Businesses and extremely wealthy people should pay their fair share of taxes“, Zuckett said. “And those revenues should be used to help pay down debt, help reduce drug prices and help deal with the climate. The majority of West Virginians and the majority of taxpayers across the country would agree with that.”

He added that loopholes often allow the nation’s wealthiest to pay little or no federal income tax, while allowing them to generate untaxed income from their investments.

An expose from last year by ProPublica based on IRS data revealed that for the past several years, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other top billionaires have paid no federal income tax.

Census data shows West Virginia has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Zuckett said the country’s failing tax system worked against residents.

“Working families in West Virginia pay taxes on every dollar they earn,” Zuckett said. “And so the billionaires and millionaires in this country should be paying taxes on every dollar they earn, just like us.”

An Oxfam report published earlier this year found that the wealth of the world’s ten richest men has doubled since the start of the pandemic – soaring to more than $13 trillion last November, a bigger increase than seen in the decade and a half previous combined.

Disclosure: The West Virginia Citizen Action Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on policy and budget priorities, the environment, health issues, and social justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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