Billionaires’ Tax Could Hit Executives from Facebook, Google, Other Big California Magnates

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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(Sacramento Bee)

The Golden State’s golden list of big-name rich people from familiar companies such as Facebook and Google could feel a sharp sting from a new tax on billionaires.

Washington Democrats are seriously considering such a tax to help fund a host of social programs and climate change initiatives. According to Forbes, that could mean 189 Californians who qualified as billionaires as of March would feel the government’s pain.

The state leads the nation in total billionaires, according to Forbes, which said they’re collectively worth $1.04 trillion. New York is second with 126 billionaires.

The list of the wealthy is dotted largely with tech magnates, followed by finance industry moguls. Of the California top 10, all but one is from the San Francisco Bay area, and nine are men. Number one on the Forbes list of billionaires is Facebook co-founder and Palo Alto resident Mark Zuckerberg, worth an estimated $97 billion, according to Forbes.

The rest of the top 10, according to Forbes:

2. Larry Page, Palo Alto, Google, net worth $91.5 billion.

3. Sergey Brin, Los Altos, Google, $89 billion.

4. Laurene Powell Jobs & family, Palo Alto, Apple, Disney, $19 billion.

5. Eric Schmidt, Atherton, Google, $18.9 billion.

6. Robert Pera, San Jose, wireless networking gear, $18.3 billion.

7. Dustin Moskovitz, San Francisco, Facebook, $17.8 billion.

8. Donald Bren, Newport Beach, real estate, $15.3 billion.

9. Eric Yuan & family, Santa Clara, video conferencing, $14.9 billion

10. Brian Chesky, San Francisco, Airbnb, $13.7 billion.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos tops the national list at $177 billion, followed by Tesla’s Elon Musk at $151 billion. Musk had been living in California but moved to Texas.

Democrats are looking at a new tax on billionaires, as well as a 15% minimum tax on corporations, as a way of helping to pay for the Biden administration’s spending package.

His plan, which began as a $3.5 trillion initiative but is now seen as a windup between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion, has run into trouble with some moderate Democrats, notably Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona.

Biden had wanted to raise the top income tax rate from the current 37% to 39.6%, but Sinema objected, triggering the effort to impose a tax on billionaires. The new plan, though, is facing resistance from some Democrats who want a broader tax on the wealthy.

Category: California, Taxes, Economic News