Thursday, November 17, 2011

Maryland Millionaire to Rep. Chris Van Hollen & Deficit Supercommittee // Tax Me, Roll Back Bush Tax Cuts

UPDATE:  Through a message sent to Maryland Juice on Twitter, Netrino President Michael Barr confirms that he is indeed the Maryland millionaire in question.

The LA Times ran an eye-grabbing headline earlier this week: "Millionaires group to lobby for higher taxes -- on themselves." Their article was about a renewed push by politically active millionaires to persuade Congress to roll back the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. This week the millionaires, operating under the name "Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength," focused on members of the "Deficit Super-Committee," like Maryland's Rep. Chris Van Hollen:
As the deadline nears for the congressional “super committee” to come up with a deficit-slashing plan, a group of people who have made $1 million a year or more is pressing lawmakers to raise tax rates on the nation’s highest income earners.

Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, an organization formed in 2010, said it’s sending a delegation of 21 members to Washington on Wednesday to seek meetings with super committee senators and representatives.

The group’s message: “Any super committee deal that does not include higher taxes for millionaires should be killed....”

Patriotic Millionaires was formed a year ago as Congress debated whether to extend the personal income tax cuts that took effect during President George W. Bush’s first term. Ultimately, Congress and President Obama agreed on a two-year extension of the cuts.

But Obama in September called for a new tax on millionaires as a way to raise revenue.

At a minimum, the millionaires group wants the top tax rate for the highest earners to return to 39.6%, from the current 35%, according to Erica Payne, a spokeswoman for the organization....

The group says it has about 200 members in all, including more than a dozen current and former Google employees, actress Edie Falco and economist Nouriel Roubini.
Maryland Juice checked out the millionaires' website and noted that the group's public signers include 5 Virginia millionaires, 3 District of Columbia millionaires and only 1 Maryland millionaire....

...Michael Barr of Baltimore. I can't be sure I've found the right person, but I believe Maryland's lonely but ethical millionaire is the man who formerly developed software for Hughes Network, including for the first DirecTV receivers. Mr. Barr also holds three degrees from the University of Maryland and is currently President of Elkridge, Maryland-based tech company Netrino:
Netrino is the world leader in firmware process and architecture consulting and training. From medical devices to consumer electronics to toothbrushes, an increasing percentage of products have a computer and software embedded inside. Netrino helps the makers of such products reduce bugs, complete firmware development on schedule, and increase product safety and reliability. 

Here is the public letter that America's "patriotic millionaires" have issued:

We are writing to urge you to put our country ahead of politics.

For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000.

We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.

Our country faces a choice – we can pay our debts and build for the future, or we can shirk our financial responsibilities and cripple our nation’s potential.

Our country has been good to us. It provided a foundation through which we could succeed. Now, we want to do our part to keep that foundation strong so that others can succeed as we have.

Please do the right thing for our country. Raise our taxes.
I am willing to bet that Mr. Barr does not testify to lawmakers that Maryland is a terrible place to do business. I also bet he hasn't ever threatened to move his business out of Maryland unless he receives money from taxpayers.

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