Owens Fights for Tax Fairness

Press Release

By:  Bill Owens
Date: April 17, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

On Tax Day, Congressman Owens signed on as a cosponsor of the House version of the Senate's "Buffett Rule" Legislation. H.R. 3903, the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, creates a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for filers with annual earnings over $1 million, ensuring that millionaires do not pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans. The rate is phased in for taxpayers earning between $1 million and $2 million, and preserves deductions for charitable giving.

"A fair tax system cannot allow middle class families to pay a higher tax rate than the very wealthiest Americans, plain and simple," said Owens. "Responsible spending cuts and the Buffett Rule are good first steps toward a complete overhaul of the tax code and will allow Washington to take a balanced approach to debt reduction."

According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the Buffett Rule would affect less than 0.03% of residents in New York's 23rd Congressional District. Last year, a similar measure was supported in the New York state legislature by every elected state official that shares constituents with Congressman Owens.

A recent poll by CNN/ORC released Monday shows 72 percent of Americans, including 69 percent of independents and 53 percent of Republicans, support changing the federal income tax rates so people who make more than $1 million per year will pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

BACKGROUND:
Millionaires make up less than 0.03% in NY23 counties. 2009 numbers from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance estimate the number of millionaires in counties that make up New York's 23rd Congressional district at less than three-hundredths of a percent. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, [10/19/11]

North country lawmakers support income tax changes. "North country legislators unanimously supported a bill Wednesday night that will lower income taxes for most north country residents but will raise them for the rich, a move that will bring $1.9 billion more into strained state coffers." [Watertown Daily Times, 12/8/11]

Twenty-eight. To push their cause for fairness in the tax code, the Center for Working Families has produced charts showing that 28 people in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties had taxable incomes of more than $1 million in 2005. [WWNY, 3/23/11]