First on CNN: Democrats will seek smaller 'millionaire's tax'
October 17th, 2011
12:23 PM ET
9 years ago

First on CNN: Democrats will seek smaller 'millionaire's tax'

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will announce Monday that Democrats will seek a .5% (point five percent) surtax on annual incomes over $1 million to pay for the first individual component of President Obama's broader jobs package, which was rejected in the Senate last week, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN.

That component of the larger jobs bill would provide $35 billion in aid to states to help preserve jobs for teachers and first responders, the White House and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid's office said.

The administration and congressional Democrats hope the slimmed-down bill – aimed at helping teachers and firefighters – will be difficult for Republicans to oppose, especially as the economy sputters and voters seek solutions from Washington.

However, a top Senate Republican leadership aide immediately indicated Republicans – and some Democrats – probably would not be willing to go along with a tax increase to pay for the measure. All Republicans and two Democrats voted against the larger package last week, which included larger tax hikes on millionaires.

Reid will also announce he will try to pass the aid bill later this week, something that likely would need the cooperation of Senate Republicans because the Senate would have to set aside an appropriations bill that is currently pending on the floor.

The new surtax proposal is a fraction of the 5.6% percent surtax on incomes over $1 million that Democrats originally put forward to offset the cost of the president's broader jobs bill, which had a price tag of about $450 billion.

Reid and other Democratic senators are scheduled to hold a press conference call at 2:30 p.m. ET to unveil additional details of their bill.

Also see:

The president goes on the road to promote jobs

White House says aid to teachers will face first Senate vote

Senate Dems consider votes on parts of Obama package

Filed under: Harry Reid • Jobs • President Obama
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Vijay

    This ultra conservative congress is not going to pass any tax increase for the millionaires, so why are democrats even talking about it? Just forget it.

    October 17, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Chipster

    Doesn't matter...Republicans will never vote for anything that might even possibly help the country during Obama's Administration. They said they want him to FAIL. How much clearer can they get than that? They will do everything in their power to see that he fails, even if it destroys the country. They have a lot of money riding on his failure: oil money, gas money, coal money, pharmaceutical money, banking industry money......lots of money riding on it.

    October 17, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Four wrote:
    Bravo! This is the kind of bipartisan agreement Americans want to see. Tax and Spend is not the correct answer. In this case, NO is the correct answer.
    Conservatives just don't get it. The Republicans know the jobs bill was a political trap, but they failed to see the true nature of the trap. This vote is one of the deadliest parts of that trap. Conservatives are proudly walking themselves right off a cliff.

    This is not a vote on a jobs bill at all. Nope. This is merely a simple vote to to raise taxes in a way that 60-80% of Americans approve of. The Senate Republicans are going to go on record for steadfastly defending the wealthy.

    October 17, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Bryan

    Cassandra Chu
    "How about larger fines for drug dealers? How about a medical tax on fat people? How about charging immigrants $1 million to become U.S. Citizens? why target the hardest working people in America?"

    Maybe that's why all of you conservatives are so fervently against raising taxes on the wealthy, you actually believe that they are the hardest working people in America! If you are of the working class, you are shooting yourselves in the foot by voting for these Tea Party conservatives.

    October 17, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. Jessica Baker


    IT'S FINALLY HERE. The place that the rich don't want you to know about.

    Google the term "Simple Stock Cash" and click on the Top ranked non-ad site! Go to the Penny Stock section to find out what the rich do not want you to know.


    October 17, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Robert

    Dear GOP respouting experts:

    Math Time!! 23% of ZERO = ???

    So, if 45% pay no taxes, and more than 2/3rds of them make ZERO, they have no tax liability.

    Now, let's look at 62 MILLION a year..... makes much more sense to actually get them to pay their taxes and not have loopholes then trying to figure out a way for people making about $8K a year to pay in on taxes...

    October 17, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Cloyce

    Senator Reid.
    Why can't we cut spending the the 1.8 trillion budget to pay for getting these police, fireman, teachers back to work?

    Better yet, why not have teachers, police, fireman pay their fair share of health insurance and pensions. Why can't they work until they are 62 like the rest of us? Why are they except from Obamascare? Why don't they contribute to Social Security which needs people paying in?

    October 17, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. rob

    This is nothing but pure political theater. While the economy is struggling to get moving and millions of americans are out of work or not making enough to pay their bills all the President and Harry Reid are doing is playing gottcha with the republicans. Continually campaigning will not solve our problems, working with the congress as it is constituted now to pass legislation that they know will pass is the answer. Why won't they just do that???????

    Nov 2012 can't come fast enough.

    October 17, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |

    Ask me for a donation of $ 25,000 to a specific fund to give to first responders, teachers, etc. where I can see exactly where my money goes and that it only goes to those specificied projects...done. I'm all for it. Ask me to give more in taxes because the almost 40 % we pay is wasted and unaccounted for....not a chance. The gov't can't manage money, never has been able to. If the only thing they think can be cut in spending is Medicare, SS, defense then they are idiots. Get rid of the frivolous and unnecessary then we will talk. Its not about the rich or the middle class nor the poor, its about the gov't getting their house in order first.

    October 17, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    So how much is the tax increase going to raise that will either pay for a bill that didn't pass the senate or reduce the deficit? Will this tax increase, if passed, be tied to inflation so that in the future when everyone is making over $1 million that this will not become the next Alternative Minimum Tax?

    October 17, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:
    Tax that 45% that aren't paying taxes.......and you will a lot farther.
    They do not pay any taxes because under the progressive tax system (progressive taxation was first introduced by Republicans, BTW) these people do not make enough to be taxed. Taxing these people would be like hitting a man when they are down. A whole lot of part time workers fall into this category.

    Others are living off of tax free revenue like pensions, which are tax free because the taxes were paid as the money went into the pension. Taxing them would be like taxing someone because they withdrew money from the bank., which would amount to actual double taxing.

    October 17, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The Democrats aren't backing down. If you read closer, you will see that this is only a small part of the entire bill, so it doesn't require the same original 5.6% tax. This is just the beginning of the Democratic campaign to show voters just what the Republicans believe in; rich people and obstructionism to make Obama fail at everything, regardless of whether it is good for the economy or not.

    October 17, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Ancient Texan

    Even Bill Clinton says the proposed increase in taxes for anyone at this time with the economy in the porcelain receptacle would be a mistake.

    October 17, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. rs

    Sorry, I disagree. The top tax bracket needs to up. Way up. Probably to 91% where it was in the 1950s. Americans overwhelmingly believe the rich need to pay more, and the GOP/TP simply wants to build the richest class off of the backs of the working class and poor. Not happening.

    October 17, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. logic in LA

    What is wrong with Congress? From 5.6% to 0.5%? there are a lot of numbers in between those two!
    They dud the same thing on the tax increase request- if 250K is too low for most people to feel comfortable, why not 500K?
    Maybe congress needs to take a few days and hold seminars on doing their jobs- they obviously need more training at compromise and negotiation.

    October 17, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Geoffrey in Lowell MA

    I want millionaires to pay at least as much as they did under the "sainted" Ronald Reagan. Who could oppose what Ronald Reagan did? I'd prefer to go back to Dwight Eisenhower when the top bracket was 90% but we can't have everything Republican.

    October 17, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "I'm a democrat and maybe not the smartest guy around but even I can see see this is just another bit of wasted politics by trying to get the GOP on record for not even chipping in .5% to help out the country. Were hurting out here and we need Washington to stop playing games and get people back to work."

    Really? Sounds a bit astroturfy to me. Anyway, what would you have the Dems do? The only things the GOP will agree to is (a) massive tax cuts that inequitably benefit the extremely wealthy and corporations and (b) massive spending cuts that either gut social assistance programs that helped to create and maintain the middle-class or that would essentially deregalate all sorts of things so said corporations could, for example, start polluting our water and air a little more, kill off endangered species in the name of industry...or states could, for example, entirely rewrite their public schools' lesson plans and text books to give an inaccurate rendition of history designed to "conservatize" that states' youth population or rearrange Medicaid and SS...or even pretty much destroy them in that hopes it forces all the poor and minorities who vote Dem to leave the state and go to a blue state. The only thing that is left is for the Dems to put good, working, expert-approved, ideas based on facts, evidence and historical record on the table for consideration and show the public that the GOP/Teatrolls want nothing to do with sane, informed, realistic policies that are proven to work....that all the GOP/Teatrolls want is to push an ideology that is proven to redistribute all the wealth in the nation to the already wealthy and corporations and away from the middle-class/vast majority of us.

    October 17, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Class warfare on a smaller scale is still class warfare.

    In the first place, this "help preserve jobs for teachers and first responders" is just political yammer. It just means that money once budgeted for teachers and "first responders" will be freed up for other purposes–there really is no such thing as a targeted tax increase. All taxes, even effectively, things like Social Security taxes, go into one big pot.

    Second, the Left still hasn't managed to justify increasing taxes on one already over-taxed group in order to provide benefits for a ridiculously under-taxed group.

    Redistribution of wealth for political purposes is a pernicious and destructive tactic. f the objective really were to "help preserve jobs for teachers and first responders," it could far more readily and less divisively achieved by eliminating some other government waste-of-money. That, of course isn't the objective. The fundamental objective is to extort more money from taxpayers, with secondary objectives of punishing productive people for being productive, pandering to unproductive people, and trying to embarrass Republicans. It's just a campaign tactic.

    October 17, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. ipmutt

    Simple solustions for the simple minded. The last two people who pulled the economy out of a deap recession did it with tax cuts to the people with higher incomes. No one has done it with tax increases. If you want more jobs, and you want more government cut taxes. If you want fewer jobs and more covernment for a year or two and then have the same problem you have now, raise taxes.

    October 17, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. AlaskaPalin

    The republicans are right. Notice the democrats are always caving while the republicans are holding their ground. Obama is also right- this time around there needs to be a decisive movement in american politics either to the right or to the left if anything aught to get done. Obama sees this and is taking the fight to the republicans who have already indicated that this is the fight they want. The only non entity in this whole debacle seems to be the democrats in congress who are the greatest at self defeat (two did not vote). So blame the democrats for not getting anything done because they lack backbone.

    October 17, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. brad

    These "job creators" have been allowed to keep there taxes low for 30 years. So where's the jobs?

    October 17, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Guest

    Just a political game to give President Obama something to run against in 2012 at our expense. They know this will NEVER get through the House, so why are they wasting time with it?

    October 17, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. WWJD? Cut Entitlements. Now we know the answer is, kill the old and poor in the name of Jesus Christ?

    Color me confused CNN, will the surtax pay for the 33 billion in state aid? If that was in the article I seem to have missed it.

    October 17, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Jackson

    Geez Louise....the Money is going to Education? Carter formed the Dept of Education in 1977. What has it done? Has education improved? In 1978..he formed the Dept of Energy. What has it done? Nothing!!! Now the Dems want $35B for Teachers? The annual US deficit is $1.3Trillion. The .05% tax will only save jobs for a short time. University of Chicago estimates that pensions (state workers) for all 50 states will cost $5Trillion over the next 25 years. At the current pace, they'll only have $1.1T. What good is $35B?

    October 17, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Stan

    "Others are living off of tax free revenue like pensions, which are tax free because the taxes were paid as the money went into the pension. Taxing them would be like taxing someone because they withdrew money from the bank., which would amount to actual double taxing"

    Isn't that what we already do with the estate tax which is a tax on assets that have already been taxed after a person passes away? Social Security can be taxed under certain circumstances and people certainly pay into that with after tax earnings. In addition, what about pensions that people receive from companies or governments that they never paid into – they're there as a negotiated union benefit. Why should any pensions automatically be tax free?

    October 17, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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