Congressman DeSaulnier Introduces Legislation to Combat Income Inequality and Corporate Greed

September 30, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced the introduction of the CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act (H.R. 8377) to invest in working Americans and reduce income inequality.

“Since 1978, CEO compensation grew by over 1,000% while the typical U.S. worker saw their pay increase by only 12%. In the U.S., the trend for large corporations has been to pay CEOs extravagant salaries, bonuses, and perks, concentrating the power at the top of the company and perpetuating our country’s record-breaking income inequality,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “We need bold proposals like this one to restore the balance of power back to workers and put an end to runaway corporate greed.”

The CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act would increase corporate taxes on companies that have extreme disparities between CEO and worker pay. It would also offer preferential treatment in federal contracts to companies with pay ratios below 50:1. With the passage of Dodd-Frank, we now have data on the pay ratios for publicly traded companies. The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch makes 4,293 times what her average worker makes. If the CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act were to become law, Walmart, with a pay ratio of 1,076:1, would have owed approximately $794 million in additional federal taxes based on their 2018 levels, which is enough to extend SNAP benefits to almost 521,000 people for one year.

Congressman DeSaulnier first introduced a version of this bill during his time in the California State Senate. A similar policy has since been adopted by Portland, Oregon, where it generated $3.5 million in the first year. A tax on CEOs that are paid at more than 100:1 ratio is on the ballot in San Francisco this November.

This bill is supported by: AFL-CIO; Americans for Democratic Action; Center for Popular Democracy; Communications Workers of America; Economic Policy Institute; Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers; Jobs with Justice; National Federation of Federal Employees; People’s Action; Public Citizen; Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; SEIU; and Social Security Works.