News Release

* Estate Tax * Minimum Wage * Housing Crisis


Today the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a permanent repeal of the estate tax. Collins is co-founder of United for a Fair Economy and co-author, with William Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. Collins said today: “The bill to permanently repeal the federal estate tax will reduce federal revenue by almost $1 trillion over the next 20 years. The estate tax currently affects only millionaires — people with the richest 2 percent of estates. Nearly half of all estate taxes are paid by the wealthiest 0.1 percent of the American population — a few thousand families each year. The estate tax is a transfer tax on the unearned inheritance of large amounts of wealth; the bulk of the largest estates are appreciated assets, which have never been taxed. If we tax wages, it is only fair to tax capital gains.”
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Wednesday, June 25 is the 65th anniversary of the day President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 establishing the first federal minimum wage. Sklar, co-author of the book Raise The Floor: Wages and Policies That Work For All Of Us, said today: “The minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997, amounting to nearly 40 percent less in real terms compared to 1968 — it would take $8.45 to match the 1968 level in today’s dollars. At the Minimum Wage Challenge (which the Ms. Foundation for Women will launch at on June 25), visitors can contrast today’s minimum wage income of $10,712 a year with national Minimum Needs Budgets and their own personalized budgets. At the current rate, a single parent with one child would have to work more than two full-time minimum wage jobs, while a couple with two children would have to work more than three full-time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet…. In a 2002 poll, an overwhelming 77 percent of voters favored increasing the minimum wage from $5.15 to $8 an hour. Moreover, 79 percent favored regularly raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation.”
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President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Crowley said today: “The ‘State of the Nation’s Housing’ report issued yesterday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University finds that … three in ten U.S. households have housing affordability problems, with 14.3 million households spending more than half of their income for housing…. In a study of maternal health and infant mortality among poor women, the single most important factor as to whether or not poor children lived to one year of age was if their mothers had stable housing during pregnancy and the babies’ first year. Clearly, failure to address the affordable housing crisis has far-reaching consequences for the well-being of individual children and the nation as a whole.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167