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And although the wealth tax proposal is seen as unlikely to become law this session, the measure was voted out of committee late last month, a that there is some momentum behind it, or at least credibility.

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Bill Gates has declined to get involved in a tax fight in his home state. A spokesperson for Bezos said his boss had no comment on the measure. Anti-tax activists say it would make Washington, which does not have any capital gains tax right now, a less hospitable place for business.

Both measures face their fates this month in the final days of the legislative session.

Tech billionaires are staying “very, very quiet” on proposals to tax their wealth

The Latest on Vox. Democrats have finally identified the greatest threat to voting rights — the Supreme Court By Ian Millhiser. So in some ways, the measures in Washington state are a test of whether their rhetoric was just rhetoric — or whether they are prepared to back their beliefs up with muscle. Guided by his father, Bill Gates Sr. But, in general, he has said he supports substantially higher rates, including higher federal estate taxes and capital gains taxes, along with an institution of a state income tax in Washington, which it currently lacks.

Billionaires like Bill Gates have long said that they, theoretically, would be in favor of paying much more money in personal taxes. Where do you stand?

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And so while passing a wealth tax through Congress is quite difficult, tax advocates are capitalizing on a vulnerability for the rich: They tend to live near one another, making state and local proposals a side door of sorts into achieving a similar outcome. The state is the latest battleground in the simmering fight over how much America should tax its richest citizens. Frame has approached her contacts with ties to the Gates, Ballmer, and Bezos families to see if the billionaires would be interested in publicly supporting her proposal.

Other pro-tax activists in Washington state say they have recently spoken with some of those families in recent months about the need, in general, for rate increases.

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Washington is one of the only states in the country without a state income tax, and progressives there have spent the last decade exploring ways to add new revenue streams, all of which would probably trigger legal fights. Far more is on the line if they are asked to spend their social capital and proactively back a measure that is tangible and alive, working its way through the legislative chambers that they routinely prod on other matters they care about.

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Cookie banner We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. up to receive our newsletter each Friday. By Fabiola Cineas. Bezos, whose politics have been described as libertarianhas displayed an anti-tax streak: He, along with Ballmer, donated to a group a decade ago that opposed a measure trying to create a state income tax in Washington.

Some Washington political observers think billionaire non-engagement is only sustainable because the wealth tax currently faces long odds this legislative session. And the state in is also home to some of the most aggressive proposals to tax the ultra-rich, including a first-of-its-kind proposal to tax the wealth of billionaires at the state level. How free college became a perk for American workers By Terry Nguyen.

The patriotic millionaires is a group of high-net worth americans committed to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation.

All four of them have declined to campaign for the tax increase proposals, spurning requests to back the measures and staying on the sidelines. Their silence and inaction bother some activists because Gates and Ballmer, at least, claim to support paying more in taxes.

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Next Up on Recode. The state Senate just narrowly passed the capital gains taxa priority for Gov. Jay Inslee.

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The mega-wealthy are facing calls for higher taxes in part due to the pandemic, which has widened inequality. And yet it is relatively easy for a billionaire to say in a television studio or in a blog post that they, in theory, support a far-away, unlikely-to-ever-happen tax increase. Help keep Vox free Reader contributions help keep Vox free for all.

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. More is on the line if they are asked to do something about it.

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By choosing I Acceptyou consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. But critics charge that, unlike the national proposals, Washington state billionaires can easily move out of state and could do so if it passes, sapping Washington of any tax revenue from them at all.

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And yet Gates and some of the wealthiest people in the world are staying silent on a series of active proposals that would do just that, sidestepping a legislative package in their home state of Washington that targets them specifically. Gates, Ballmer, Bezos, and Scott have all gotten much wealthier over the last year when Big Tech stocks surged as the world relied more on tech companies.

While it does not as narrowly target billionaires, it still effectively taxes the well-to-do. Financial contributions from our readers are a critical part of supporting our resource-intensive work and help us keep our journalism free for all. An avowed deficit hawk, Ballmer has stressed the need for a closer look at federal spending patterns.

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Is therapy for everyone? These proposals are not all loony legislative long shots that are patently unworthy of their attention, either. She has said nothing to date explicitly about taxes. The capital gains tax on the cusp of becoming law took years of advocacy before it became a front-burner debate in the state. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower through understanding.

It is relatively easy for a billionaire to say they support higher taxes.