The following letter was sent to the DC Council on May 18, 2017 by The Patriotic Millionaires, the DC Chapter of Resource Generation, and Andy Shallal, DC resident and owner of Busboys and Poets.
Dear Members of the DC Council,
We are writing to you today on behalf of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of high-net worth Americans committed to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation, Resource Generation, a membership organization of young people with wealth leveraging their resources for economic, racial, and social justice, and other wealthy residents of DC. As representatives of both Americans with large estates and young people with access to inherited wealth, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to preserve the District’s current estate tax level.
At a time when the wealthy have never done better, raising the estate tax threshold will only serve to expand the yawning gap between the wealthy of this city and the rest of its population, many of whom are struggling to get by. The citizens of Washington, D.C. need better schools, more accessible health care, and more affordable housing, not a tax cut which is only for millionaires and their heirs. And as those who will both pay the estate tax and those who would face a reduced inheritance because of the estate tax, we are united in saying that we need those things as well.
The estate tax was introduced a century ago when economic inequality had reached such historic levels that it was considered a threat to national stability. We suffer from the same level of imbalance today, making preservation of the estate tax as-is a top priority for all. It is not right for your constituents who work hard everyday trying to support their families to bear the financial burdens of our city, while those of us who have access to wealth pay no taxes at all.
We need to know that our neighbors can go to the doctor when they get sick, that they can live in safe, affordable housing, and that they are able to send their children to a safe, well-funded school. Living in a flourishing city where all are given the opportunity to succeed is much more important to us than another tax cut we do not deserve. We believe that it is good for all those living in the District, including the wealthy, when our communities are given the funding they need to thrive, and we believe that funding should come from those most able to afford it - people like us with access to enormous wealth.
The Council has a clear choice in front of it: support crucial public services that benefit the entire District, or give a massive tax cut to the richest people in the city, those who need the least help. We urge you to make the right decision for the people of Washington, D.C. and preserve the current estate tax.
Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets and DC resident
Resource Generation’s DC Chapter
The Patriotic Millionaires