WEALTHY DC RESIDENTS RELEASE LETTER DEMANDING DC COUNCIL PROTECT THE ESTATE TAX
“As both Americans with large estates and people with access to inherited wealth, we reject the notion that we need or deserve a tax cut”
Washington, DC – Today, members of the Patriotic Millionaires and Resource Generation sent a letter to members of the DC Council demanding they halt plans to raise the estate tax exemption limit, which would give a tax cut to the richest residents of DC. The Patriotic Millionaires, a group of high-net worth Americans committed to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation, and Resource Generation, a membership organization of young people with wealth leveraging their resources for economic, racial, and social justice, are united on this crucial issue.
As both Americans with large estates and people with access to inherited wealth, they reject the notion that they need or deserve a tax cut, and instead urge the DC Council to keep the estate tax limit as it currently stands. Full text of the letter, as well as statements from individual members of Resource Generation and the Patriotic Millionaires, can be found below or by clicking HERE.
In their own words:
“As a DC resident with wealth privilege, I believe that the city’s budget should reflect the values of people who call DC home, including providing for housing, healthcare, education, and other basics for all residents who need support to meet those needs. I’m happy to pay more in taxes to make sure that happens, and I definitely don’t support a budget that cuts my taxes and harms other DC residents in the process,” said Lauren Weiss, a member of Resource Generation.
“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 with access to wealth like us,” said Morris Pearl, Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires.
“I’ve been fortunate to succeed in DC, and I’m happy to give back to make sure all DC residents can thrive. As an advocate for small business, I think it’s important to pay attention to things that support a robust and competitive business environment that attracts and helps sustain small businesses in the District, including taxes. However, I believe strongly that the District should preserve the estate tax and use the money for services that will help residents and make DC stronger, like schools and housing, instead of giving tax cuts to a privileged few,” said Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets and DC resident.
“As a person with wealth, I would like the city council to maintain the current estate tax threshold because I feel that it is a valuable tool to provide revenue for city services to help our neediest citizens. Unlike some other taxes that impact individuals across the income spectrum, this tax is only paid by those that are most able to pay. As someone who has bought a house and had a child in the district, who also stands to inherit money and leave it to my children, I would not like to see the proposed estate tax cut enacted in the city budget. Please use the money for more pressing budget priorities, like taking care of the homeless crisis, improving our schools and keeping our city safe,” said Louis Perwein, an alumni of Resource Generation.
“The American middle class is vanishing. We are becoming a nation of the super wealthy and ‘other’ Americans. I am in favor of the estate tax because it both symbolically and actually lessens this harmful divide,” said Patriotic Millionaire Terrence Meehan.
“In a country where we venerate the self-made and entrepreneurism, favoring idleness due to inherited riches is inconsistent with our culture and history. Everyone is complaining about the inequality of the USA and other developed nations, and limiting or eliminating the estate tax only furthers this concentration of wealth,” said Patriotic Millionaire John Hooker.
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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 had the good fortune to not need to work to 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
About the Patriotic Millionaires
The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of 200 high-net-worth Americans who are committed to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation. The group focuses on promoting public policy solutions that encourage political equality; guarantee a sustaining wage for working Americans; and ensure that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations pay a greater percentage of taxes. You can find out more at https://patrioticmillionaires.org/about/
The Patriotic Millionaires have appeared on hundreds of media outlets here and abroad, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and many others. You can find more coverage at https://patrioticmillionaires.org/media
About Resource Generation
Resource Generation, started in 1998, is a national multi-racial, membership-based organization of people 35 and under with access to wealth who are using their money, power, and resources to support social, economic, and racial justice. There are 17 RG chapters across the U.S. You can find out more at http://resourcegeneration.org/about-us
Resource Generation members have appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Politico, and Vox. You can find more coverage at http://resourcegeneration.org/resources/media-room/