Florida Senate - 2019 SM 1734 By Senator Farmer 34-00710-19 20191734__ 1 Senate Memorial 2 A memorial to the Congress of the United States, 3 requesting Congress to adopt budgetary and other 4 measures to reduce income inequality. 5 6 WHEREAS, every United States resident should have the 7 opportunity to achieve his or her maximum potential, and 8 WHEREAS, over the course of more than three decades, there 9 has been a huge transfer of income from the middle class to a 10 small percentage of the upper class, which has weakened the 11 economic and social well-being of many residents, and 12 WHEREAS, according to research published on September 3, 13 2013, by Emmanuel Saez at the University of California, 14 Berkeley, in 1976 the top 1 percent of earners took home 9 15 percent of the total income, but in 2012 the top 1 percent of 16 earners took home 22.5 percent of the total income, and 17 WHEREAS, Emmanuel Saez’s research also concluded that 18 between 1976 and 2012, the total income taken home by the top 10 19 percent of earners increased from 33 percent to more than 50 20 percent, and that between 2009 and 2012, a period of economic 21 recovery, the top 1 percent of earners captured 95 percent of 22 all income gains, and 23 WHEREAS, according to a November 5, 2014, report by the 24 Council of Economic Advisers within the Executive Office of the 25 President, had the percentage of income earned by the bottom 90 26 percent of earners remained the same in 2013 as it was in 1973, 27 the median annual household income adjusted for family size 28 would have been 18 percent higher, and 29 WHEREAS, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of 30 Consumer Finances, the top 1 percent of households controlled 31 38.6 percent of the nation’s total wealth, an increase from 36.3 32 percent in 2013, and the top 10 percent of households controlled 33 77.2 percent of the nation’s total wealth, leaving the bottom 90 34 percent of households controlling only 22.8 percent of the 35 nation’s total wealth, and 36 WHEREAS, increases in income inequality since the 1970s are 37 widely viewed to be the result of stagnant wage growth, 38 technological change, globalization, declines in labor union 39 membership, oversized executive salaries, and reductions in 40 employment and retirement benefits, and 41 WHEREAS, children born into low-income families are less 42 likely to have access to early childhood education, more likely 43 to attend poorly funded schools that deliver inferior K-12 44 education, and less likely to attend or complete college, and 45 WHEREAS, increasing income inequality limits job creation, 46 educational attainment, health conditions, and future 47 opportunities for young persons, and 48 WHEREAS, federal, state, and local governments do not have 49 sufficient tax revenue to adequately fund their essential 50 responsibilities, including health care, education, and child 51 and elder welfare, to ensure the well-being of all residents, 52 and 53 WHEREAS, the wide income disparity and the unprecedented 54 transfer of wealth pose a significant threat to the United 55 States’ economy and democracy, contribute to a breakdown of 56 residents’ trust in the fair functioning of the economy, 57 undermine residents’ well-being, and threaten the middle class 58 with a less secure and prosperous future, NOW, THEREFORE, 59 60 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 61 62 That the Congress of the United States is requested to: 63 (1) Modernize and reform personal income taxes to close tax 64 loopholes, simplify the preparation of tax returns, and make the 65 payment of taxes less regressive. 66 (2) Reform corporate income taxes to ensure that all 67 corporations pay a minimum tax, eliminate offshore tax havens 68 and special interest exemptions, and close tax loopholes. 69 (3) Increase the minimum wage in incremental steps over 70 time so that it represents a living wage. 71 (4) Adequately fund essential federal government 72 responsibilities, including public safety, the courts, health 73 care, and programs that ensure the well-being of children and 74 the elderly. 75 (5) Provide substantially increased funding to programs 76 that support the unemployed and others in need, including, but 77 not limited to, unemployment compensation programs, job training 78 programs, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, 79 affordable housing programs, and food and nutritional assistance 80 programs. 81 (6) Provide increased funding for early childhood education 82 programs, public schools, and vocational and technical education 83 programs to help secure a more prosperous future for young 84 persons. 85 (7) Enact strong legislation to contain health care costs, 86 including prescription drug costs, and ensure that action is 87 taken to identify, prosecute, and punish those who commit health 88 care fraud. 89 (8) Provide funding over a multiyear period to repair and 90 enhance the infrastructure of the United States, including, but 91 not limited to, public roads, highways, bridges, and buildings. 92 (9) Ensure that federal law is sufficient and that federal 93 agencies are adequately funded so as to ensure effective 94 regulation of financial institutions and investment firms and to 95 punish those who intentionally deceive the public. 96 (10) Appoint a special study commission to examine the 97 adequacy of consumer protection, including consumer credit, 98 subprime automobile loans, title loans, residential mortgages, 99 telemarketing, consumer products, and employment law, and to 100 ensure that federal laws relating to consumer protection are 101 strongly enforced. 102 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State dispatch 103 copies of this memorial to the President of the United States, 104 the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the 105 United States House of Representatives, and each member of the 106 Florida delegation to the United States Congress.