Assemblymember Alex Lee introduces wealth tax in state Legislature

Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-District 24)

Southern Alameda County’s representatives in the state Assembly are pushing to impose a modest tax on the wealthiest people in California.

On Jan. 24, Assemblymember Alex Lee, who represents Fremont and Newark as well as a portion of Santa Clara County, reintroduced Assembly Bill 259 and a complementary constitutional amendment that would apply a 1% tax on households with net worths of $50 million or more and a 1.5% tax on households with net worths of $1 billion or more. The amendment is necessary because the California Constitution imposes a 0.4% limit on the tax rate for personal property.

“With this modest tax on the ultra-wealthy who pay a lower effective tax rate than the bottom 99%, we would have sustained investments in our schools, tackle homelessness, maintain and expand needed services, and much more,” Lee said in a statement.

Lee announced the reintroduction of the wealth tax at a press conference at the Capitol on Monday alongside the coauthors of the legislation, including Liz Ortega, who represents Hayward, as part of a concerted effort in seven states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Maryland, Illinois and Washington.

“I am proud to coauthor ACA 3 and AB 259, which will finally force the ultra-wealthy in California to pay their fair share of taxes,” Ortega said in a statement. “In my district in the East Bay, the average rent is $2,200 per month and families are struggling. If billionaires have enough money to send themselves to space, they can afford to pay a little more to support our communities.”

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