Senator John Thune (R-SD) has introduced legislation that would create an option for individuals who believe they are under-taxed to voluntarily send extra money to the U.S. Treasury. The legislation is dubbed the Buffett Rule Act of 2011 and is the Republicans’ response to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett’s recent comments that he isn’t paying enough in taxes. Any money collected from individuals would go towards paying down the debt.
Starting with the 2011 tax year, this legislation would provide a “clearly marked, convenient option” on tax return forms to allow individuals to give additional money to the government. The minimum donation amount would be $1.
The President’s “Buffett Rule” is part of his $450 billion jobs bill that was defeated in the Senate last week and will now be debated in portions. His version of the rule aims to stop millionaires from exploiting lower tax rates on investment earnings than what middle-income taxpayers pay on their wages, a cause that Buffett has been long advocating. But Republicans have fired back, saying anyone who feels under-taxed should just write a check to the government.
“If individuals like Warren Buffett or President Obama are inclined to donate their own personal money toward paying down the federal government’s debt, they ought to have that right to do so voluntarily,” said Thune. “This bill would make it easier for those wealthy individuals who feel they are currently under-taxed to pay more to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond their current obligations, without raising taxes on America’s job creators.”
Companion legislation was introduced recently in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA).