Guest Essays, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Guest essay Federal asset tax would penalize Americans for investing in our economy

by Sen. Eric Tarr

President Joe Biden, still intent on destroying the value of a dollar you earn, has proposed a new tax that would initially fall on both the income and unrealized asset gains of upper-income taxpayers but ultimately pass through to your families as a rise in the cost of goods. It’s a terrible plan that would close many small businesses, further compromise supply, inflate product price and discourage new or expansive private-sector investment.

Long championed by left-wing denizens of the Beltway swamp, a tax on assets (something they call a wealth tax) exemplifies their failure to understand both the basics of economic growth and fundamental tax policy. As pitched by Biden, the latest asset tax scheme would levy a 25% tax on people with income plus assets totaling more than $100 million. He calls it a billionaire’s tax to disguise it, but, in fact, it’s an increased tax on every citizen.

Even if the tax miraculously did not force businesses to increase the cost of their goods and services, containing the tax only to the business’s owners, there are far more businesses owned by people nowhere near billionaire status who could qualify for the asset tax. Think about family farms producing our food that require a lot of acreage and expensive equipment.

It also captures many small manufacturers that require large properties, millions in equipment and raw supply and finished product inventories. The value of these companies tend to be, in very large part, tied up in the assets and operating capital required to produce a product, not cash in a bank account just sitting around to absorb a tax. So in order to survive tax increases, that cash requirement has to come from their customers in the form of price hikes. The other option is to sell off those assets to pay their taxes.

In reality, this is not a billionaire tax. It’s a tax on every citizen.

 The rest of us see entrepreneurs for what they are — the job creators who are essential to the employment opportunities, economies, and tax base of our communities.

It would be a shame to see West Virginia family-owned businesses come to an end because they couldn’t pay the tax on a change in the value of their unsold assets, guesstimated by bureaucrats in Washington.

The United States never has had an asset tax before, and we should not start one now. It is deceptive and discourages investment and innovation. That’s not the American way, and I sincerely hope West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stands up against his leftist buddies and instead focuses on policies that support the growth and prosperity of hardworking Americans.

Eric Tarr is a physical therapist, business owner and chairman of the West Virginia Senate Finance Committee.