Sanders Proposes Bigger Tax Hikes Than White House Is Planning

March 25, 2021, 9:00 AM

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders is proposing tax increases that are even bigger than the ones President Joe Biden is considering.

Sanders, in an interview with NPR, said that he is planning to introduce legislation Thursday that would raise the corporate tax rate to 35%, higher than the 28% that Biden has proposed. The corporate rate is currently 21%, which was cut from 35% in President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul.

The push for even steeper tax increases demonstrates that Democrats are divided on the scope of the levy hikes they should pursue as they look for ways to finance infrastructure, climate change programs and other priorities. Democrats largely agree that businesses and wealthy households should pay higher taxes, but they have yet to debate the specifics of those increases.

Yet Sanders’ proposal is certain to face fierce opposition from Republicans, who make up half of the Senate, and misgivings from some moderate Democrats.

Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, also told NPR he would introduce a second bill that will create a surtax on the estates of the richest Americans. As Budget Committee chairman, his panel doesn’t have direct jurisdiction over the tax code, but Sanders said he sees his committee taking a broad approach to economic issues.

Biden’s Likely Tax Wins Are Personal-Rate Hikes, Audits of Rich

“What we want to do is use the committee to focus on the crises facing the working class of this country, the middle class of this country, talk about issues like income and wealth inequality, talk about the mass amounts of tax avoidance and tax breaks that the very wealthiest people in this country, talk about student debt, talk about how much it will cost us if we do not address the existential threat of climate change,” Sanders said in the NPR interview. “In other words, look at the major issues facing our country and focus a spotlight on them.”

The Budget Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday that will include testimony from Abigail E. Disney, an heiress to the Walt Disney Co. fortune, who also advocates for higher taxes on the wealthy, and Gabriel Zucman, the University of California at Berkeley economist who helped develop a tax plan for Senator Elizabeth Warren when she ran for president.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net

John Harney

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