Wyden-Snowe Executive Pay Limits — The Enhanced Version
When the White House economic team last month rejected a Senate-passed stimulus amendment that would have taxed bailed-out companies at 35 percent for 2008 bonuses, sponsor Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) vowed he’d be back later for another try.
Today, he made good on that promise.
Wyden, along with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Senate Finance Committee leaders Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), re-introduced the bonus-tax proposal this afternoon — complete with enhancements.
For example, the original bill applied the 35 percent tax only to the companies that distributed the bonuses, while the newer bill would also slap that tax on the employees who received them (Total tax = 70 percent). Also, the first proposal applied the tax only to bonuses in excess of $100,000, while the latest version lowers that floor to $50,000. The provisions would apply only to banks that have accepted more than $100 million in bailout funding (and still have at least that much outstanding).
“I wish we didn’t have to do this,” Grassley said in a statement, adding:
Without the massive infusion of public dollars through the bailout program, these companies wouldn’t even exist anymore, much less be handing out bonuses. Instead, the bonuses have done a lot of damage to public confidence in the financial sector, which was already very low. The outrage you see at the grass roots is justified.
Wyden weighed in with a similar message. “Getting bailed out by the American taxpayer was more than enough of a bonus for these companies and individuals,” Wyden said in a statement. “I’m hoping the second time is the charm for our bipartisan approach.”