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Pass a Wall Street Tax, 52 Groups Tell Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lawmakers should back the Wall Street Tax Act of 2023, legislation reintroduced late Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.), that would tax purchases of stocks, bonds, or derivatives by just 0.1%, 52 groups led by Public Citizen told Congress in a letter sent this morning.

A financial transaction tax would be an important step toward ensuring that Wall Street pays its fair share of taxes and would raise more than $750 billion in revenue over ten years that could be used to invest in education, health care, childcare, housing, and addressing the climate crisis, the groups said. Importantly, the legislation also would help to reduce financial sector volatility, reorienting Wall Street away from speculation toward long-term investments that support Main Street businesses, employees, and working families.

“It is unconscionable that the recent debt limit deal to avoid a catastrophic default included inflation-adjusted cuts in crucial programs from nutrition assistance to health care to environmental enforcement to Head Start and much more at a time when we should be increasing spending to address income inequality and America’s other pressing problems,” the letter reads. “Instead of cutting spending to help the vulnerable, our nation ought to have sought additional revenue by raising taxes on corporations and the super-rich—including Wall Street high rollers.”

Prominent investors including Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes, former head of corporate governance for TIAA-CREF John Wilcox, and former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead have endorsed an excise tax on trading. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and former counselor to the Treasury Secretary Antonio Weiss also support a financial transaction tax.