Here in Rhode Island, the issue of hedge fund investing of pension dollars has been a source of much conflict and concern. Hopefully with so many financial experts now leading our state government (Tom Sgouros, Seth Magaziner, Gina Raimondo, I’m talking to you!) we can make sure that public pension dollars in Rhode Island are invested wisely.
Good news and more good news: Senator Whitehouse is looking for ways to put the middle class first, get billionaires to pay their fair share, and generate new revenues. Not for nothing, but sometimes I really wish Senator Whitehouse could have been Vice President with Obama. These are the reforms our country desperately needs. From the Whitehouse Press office:
Providence, RI – With President Obama and Republican leaders in Congress citing tax reform as a key area for bipartisan cooperation in the new year, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that he will introduce three bills to make the federal tax system fairer for middle-class families and small businesses. The package would end tax breaks and loopholes that benefit multi-national corporations and the highest earners, and is projected to generate over $300 billion in revenue over 10 years.
“Our tax code is riddled with giveaways and special deals for the biggest corporations and top earners, and that special treatment hurts hardworking Rhode Islanders,” said Whitehouse. “Multi-national corporations stash assets and profits abroad to avoid paying a fair share in taxes. Companies ship jobs overseas and get a tax break for doing it. And billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. These bills would help end this kind of special treatment for special interests, and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue in the process.”
All three bills will be introduced tomorrow when the Senate is in session. Senator Whitehouse will fight to include these proposals in any tax reform package that moves through the Senate.
Whitehouse’s plan includes:
The Paying a Fair Share Act – The Paying a Fair Share Act would implement the “Buffett Rule,” ensuring that multi-million-dollar earners pay at least a 30 percent effective federal tax rate. The rule is named for legendary investor Warren Buffett, who has famously pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. The bill, which includes language to preserve the incentive for charitable giving, would generate an estimated $71 billion over ten years.
The Offshoring Prevention Act – Currently, U.S. companies that manufacture goods abroad for sale here at home are allowed to defer payment of federal income tax – waiting to pay taxes on foreign income in years that minimize their tax liability. The Offshoring Prevention Act would require companies that send factories and jobs overseas to play by the same rules as ones supporting jobs in the U.S. The bill would generate an estimated $20 billion in revenue over ten years.
The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act – Estimates show that Fortune 500 companies hold roughly $2 trillion in offshore holdings to benefit from favorable foreign tax systems and bank secrecy. Championed in previous Congresses by retired Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would close loopholes that allow multi-national corporations to avoid paying a fair share in taxes by moving assets and profits through intricate networks of offshore subsidiaries and bank accounts. This bill would generate at least $220 billion in revenue over ten years.
None of the bills prescribe uses for the revenue they would generate. It would be up to Congress to decide how the funds would be spent – anything from investments in infrastructure to deficit reduction.
Whitehouse has been a leader in the Senate on tax fairness issues. In addition to authoring the Buffett Rule and Offshoring Prevention legislation in previous Congresses, in 2013, he proposed a plan to replace strict austerity measures contained in the 2011 debt ceiling deal – the budget “sequester” – by closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, and he has spoken often of the injustices in our present tax code.
Lots of great reporting here.
From the Whitehouse Press Office:
RI Delegation Lauds Approval of Block Island Wind Farm Transmission Line
Washington, DC – Yesterday the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has offered a right-of-way (ROW) grant to Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission System, LLC (Deepwater Wind) for the Block Island Transmission System (BITS). The announcement paves the way for the installation of a transmission line to carry energy from the Block Island Wind Farm to the Rhode Island mainland, and to give island residents access to the mainland electric grid.
U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, strong supporters of the offshore wind project, released the statements below praising the announcement:
“This decision by the BOEM marks the first right-of-way grant offered in federal waters for renewable energy transmission, a significant distinction for Rhode Island. As the country reduces its dependence on oil, coal, and other fossil fuels, Rhode Island has the potential to benefit from this emerging renewable energy industry, while helping to chart its future,” said Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).
“The Block Island Wind Farm will bring cleaner and more affordable energy to Block Island’s residents while helping Rhode Island access the tremendous economic and environmental potential of our offshore wind,” said Whitehouse. “It’s a milestone in our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy, and I’m proud that Rhode Island is leading the way.”
“Rhode Island has championed so many environmental conservation efforts and we are truly leading by example with the country’s first offshore wind farm. This exciting news from BOEM is further evidence of our state’s important role in a nationwide movement to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and create a cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure now and for the future,” said Congressman Langevin, a founding member and energy task force chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.
“Rhode Island is leading the way in a clean energy future and this announcement marks important progress in the Ocean State and across the nation in harnessing renewable energy sources,” said Cicilline. “I’m pleased to join with my colleagues in supporting this project, and I look forward to charting the economic and environmental progress this project represents in the coming years.”
We write about billionaires and their philanthropy almost every day here at IP, and so we’ve been intrigued by Darrell West’s new book, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust.
From the Whitehouse press office:
Sens. Whitehouse and Manchin to See Effects of Climate Change in RI
Providence, RI – In June, U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined together for a colloquy on the Senate floor to discuss the effects of climate change and the importance of coal in America’s energy portfolio. During the course of their discussion, the Senators agreed to visit each other’s states to learn more about the effects of climate change in Rhode Island and the importance of coal in West Virginia.
Their first visit will be in Rhode Island tomorrow. The Senators will hold a media availability at 10:00 a.m. on Pier 3 in Galilee, Narragansett to discuss the purpose of the trip and take questions from reporters. Pier 3 is located next to the Block Island Ferry. Parking will be available across the street behind the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) coastal resources building, 304 Great Island Road, Narragansett, RI.
A detailed itinerary for the rest of their day is below. Reporters interested in attending any of these stops should RSVP back to this email.
8:00 a.m. – Senators visit the NOAA Tide Gauge in Newport, where sea-level rise has been measured for decades. Location: Coasters Harbor Island, 1397 Perry Rd, Newport.
8:30 a.m. – Senators visit BioProcess Algae, a local business that is converting carbon pollution into products such as animal feed and biodiesel. Location: 45 Highpoint Ave, Portsmouth.
10:00 a.m. – Senators hold media availability near commercial fishing docks in Narragansett, RI. Location: On Pier 3, next to the Block Island Ferry and across from the DEM building at 304 Great Island Road, Narragansett.
10:30 a.m. – Senators depart Pier 3 for a fish trawl survey aboard the DEM’s research vessel. They will be accompanied by representatives from the commercial and recreational fishing community and will be briefed on how changes in ocean conditions affect fish populations.
1:30 p.m. – Senators meet with local experts from the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council for a briefing on the effects of climate change in Rhode Island. Location: URI Bay Campus, Challenger Room, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett.
3:00 p.m. – Senators tour Roy Carpenter’s Beach, a working class community of small beach cottages that is being forced to retreat from the shoreline due to severe erosion. Location: Roy Carpenter Beach Road, South Kingstown.
3:45 p.m. – Senators visit the Ocean Mist and Tara’s Tipperary Tavern, two local bars that are in danger of washing out to sea due to erosion. Location: 895 & 907 Matunuck Beach Rd, Wakefield.
Senator Whitehouse will visit West Virginia on Wednesday, October 22. Details for the West Virginia visit will be available soon.
Down to the wire here in RI for the Sept 9 primary, we continue to get national media attention