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VOL. 43 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 27, 2019

Sanders calls for 'income inequality' taxes on top firms

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced Monday an "income inequality" plan calling for steep tax increases on companies that pay CEOs far more than their workers' median salaries.

The Vermont senator's proposal would raise taxes 0.5 percentage points on companies paying top executives more than 50 times the median salaries of workers. Tax penalties would rise from there, up to a maximum of 5 percentage points for firms whose highest-paid official earns 500-plus times median worker pay.

The plan would apply to all private and publicly held corporations with annual revenues of $100 million. Sanders' campaign says it would raise $150 billion over the next decade, which he would use to eliminate medical debt nationwide.

"At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the American people are demanding that large, profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes," Sanders said in a statement. "It is time to send a message to corporate America: If you do not end your greed and corruption, we will end it for you."

Sanders said that if his plan were in effect last year, it would have forced McDonald's to pay more than $110 million in additional taxes, increased Walmart's taxes by nearly $795 million and meant over $990 million in tax increases for JPMorgan Chase.

CEOs for big companies routinely make 150 times or more what their typical workers do. Last year, the typical top boss at companies in the S&P 500 index, which includes everything from Apple to Zoetis, made about 158 times what their median worker did, according to data analyzed by Equilar for The Associated Press' annual CEO compensation study.

And that gap is widening. In 2017, it would have taken the median worker 151 years to make what their CEO did, seven years less than last year's pace.

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AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed to this report from New York.

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