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Whitehouse hears from Rhode Islanders about Buffett Rule

Cranston, RI – Following an announcement last week that the Senate will hold a vote on U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Buffett Rule legislation, the Senator met today with a group of Rhode Islanders to hear their concerns about tax fairness and to discuss his legislation. Whitehouse’s bill, the Paying a Fair Share Act, would ensure that ultra-high income earners cannot take advantage of loopholes to pay a lower rate than middle-income Rhode Islanders.

Event participants shared their own stories about getting by in this tough economy, and expressed frustration about the tax loopholes that allow multi-million-dollar earners to pay lower tax rates than many middle class workers.

“Rhode Islanders like the ones here today deserve a straight deal from the government when they pay their taxes,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who introduced the Buffett Rule legislation in February of this year. “It’s time to restore fairness to our tax system to ensure that ultra-high income earners don’t pay a lower tax rate than middle-income Rhode Islanders – your local truck driver, teacher, or policeman. It’s great to hear from Rhode Islanders about their support for my Buffett Rule legislation, and we’re going to fight hard in the Senate to get this done.”

"I've been a middle-class worker here in Rhode Island since I was in my early twenties.  My wife and I pay our taxes, and it's frustrating to hear that multi-millionaires are getting special treatment to pay a lower rate," said Mike Nunes, one of the event participants and package car driver for the Teamsters Local 251.

Whitehouse’s Paying a Fair Share Act would ensure that multi-million-dollar earners pay at least a 30 percent effective tax rate.  It would apply only to taxpayers with income over $1 million – including capital gains and dividends. 

In addition to restoring fairness to the tax code, the bill would generate $47 billion in new revenue over the next decade, as estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The bill is supported by President Obama and Warren Buffett himself.

Speaking today at the Associated Press luncheon in Washington, President Obama said, “As both I and Warren Buffett have pointed out many times now, he’s paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.  That is not fair.  It is not right.”

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