Taxes are an important part of society but often misunderstood. A proper tax policy prevents the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few and ensures money is spent on paying workers and investing in the community. A good tax policy can spur economic growth and ensure families have access to the things they need, but a bad tax policy can do the opposite – hurting job growth, stalling public investments, and taking away resources from families that need it.
It is clear to me that our current tax policy is too heavily weighted in favor of wealthy corporations, at the expense of struggling families and small business. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is now considered the wealthiest person in history, and yet Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials are scrambling to find ways to give Amazon even more tax breaks, and refuse to even tell the public exactly what the offer is. That is the kind of outrageous tax policy that is hurting us, giving more and more free money to the wealthy while expecting the poor to cover the costs. I support shifting our tax policy back onto wealthy corporations, it is time they paid their fair share again.
- Use fair funding for K-12 instead of residential property taxes. High property taxes on family homes can hurt those on a fixed income, which is why I propose changing the school district funding formula to move away from reliance on residential property taxes.
- Implement a "Fair Share Tax" and progressive income tax. Our poor are too often saddled with proportionally more taxes than millionaires. Rather than setting a proper long-term budget, legislators have instead raised sales taxes, alcohol taxes, property taxes, and other "regressive" taxes that disproportionately hurt the poor compared to the rich. It's time we reverse that trend by implementing a "Fair Share Tax" that would set a higher tax rate on wealth so that we could lower taxes on wages earned by workers. A progressive income tax would also set higher rates on millionaires and allow further reductions in sales taxes, property taxes, and more, as well as greater public investment in our infrastructure and schools.
- Close tax loopholes. UPMC and similar organizations operate like for-profit businesses instead of non-profits, and yet are able to take advantage of non-profit tax law to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. I will demand investigations and appropriate legislation to prevent this loophole. Either non-profits will provide more services to the community to earn their tax status, or they will be required to pay taxes like any other business.