Sherman Seeks Harsher Tax on Executive Pay

Posted March 30, 2009 at 4:36pm

A handful of House Democrats are rallying behind legislation that would tax executives at bailed-out firms whose compensation totals more than $1 million per year, a proposal that goes even further than House-passed legislation targeting executive bonuses.Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the Financial Services Committee, on Monday introduced a bill to impose a 70 percent surtax on all pay that exceeds $1 million at firms that took more than $500 million in Wall Street bailout funds.“My bill deals with all compensation, whether it is called a salary, bonus, retention payment, commission, employee of the week prize, or whatever,— Sherman said in a statement. Some people will still say that a $1 million annual cap is too low, Sherman said, which is why the bill also allows the Treasury Department to permit bailed-out firms to give executives restricted stock. Sherman’s bill differs from similar legislation that cleared the House this month that would impose a 90 percent tax on executive bonuses at firms that took more than $5 billion in federal aid. That bill, which has stalled because of White House opposition, only applies to bonuses made after Jan. 1 and does not prevent bailed-out firms from giving million-dollar-a-month salaries to executives. Bill co-sponsors include Democratic Reps. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), Bob Filner (Calif.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Peter DeFazio (Ore.).