Portland proposes a special tax on companies where CEOs make 100X more than median employee

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/07/portland-proposes-a-special-ta.html


Squee! This is so good to hear! Let’s get people some boats for when that tide starts coming in.


Yay! Now CEOs will have an incentive to slough off and outsource their actual employees into subcontracted organisations who supply the workers to the main firm for a fee whilst employing those workers on temporary contracts! Then the ‘company’ itself can comprise the board and the higher paid individuals, thus keeping the median salary in the ‘company’ high enough to justify the CEO’s $100M salary whilst still ensuring a supply of the proles who do the actual work


Of Portland’s move, Seelig said it probably wouldn’t meaningfully affect companies’ bottom lines, but that it was “a matter of raising awareness”.

Ah, Portlandia. Home of the thought-provoking (but ultimately meaningless) gesture.


We used to have this. It was called a 90% tax on upper income earners. Nothing more likely to keep CEO pay down then to tax most of it away, along with higher taxes on stock options and stock sales/transfers. But of course, we got rid of that because piss down economics is the thing that will make us all prosperous. Eventually. One day. Soon. I’m sure.


I can think of several ways to sneak around such a tax. I agree, the CPAs will win this one handily.


So, companies will move out of Portland to one of its suburbs, or to unincorporated areas. Nike is in an unincorporated area, I believe.

This will also apply only to publicly-held companies, since these are the only ones required to disclose this information.

Not sure if it only considers salary or total compensation, but if it only considers salary, that is a huge loophole.


It’s a start. Not a paradigm-shifting start quite yet (since it’s not really going to catch anyone), but it’s a start. The only way is up.


Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Measure 97 passed so things like this will have to do in the mean time, even if they’re just gestures towards real change.

Edit: wrong measure number, doh.


Remember the freeze in federal hiring? It just meant that now a huge chunk of federal workers are “contractors”. I have a friend who’s pretty senior in the State Dept who’s a “contractor”. Just like gun control, localized laws are like squeezing one end of a long balloon.


What happens if the CEO reduces their salary to $1 and instead moves all their compensation to stock and bonuses? As a CEO you don’t need a huge salary to be fabulously wealthy after all.


I like the idea but suspect at most It will do an excellent job of keeping new companies from moving into Portland.


Am I the only one that thinks 100 times the median is still pretty high? Heck even 100 times the minimum wage seems like a insanely high salary.

Sure I agree it’s good to have a difference in wage but I don’t think it’s healthy to have a CEO that earns the equivalent of one of his employees’ monthly salaries in a afternoon.

Disclaimer: I do agree a limit is better then no limit, I don’t know where I would set the limit and I agree with all the voiced concerns about loopholes and negative side effects.


And also tend to keep all their profits in offshore holding companies anyway.
As EBITDA so ably demonstrates, there’s too many ways to hide profit.
Any corporate tax has to be against gross income or it’s meaningless.


What if we did the opposite. No taxes for people making under $50,000.


Gestures are important, even if they are just gestures. Gestures win you elections. Gestures write your propaganda.


Because of ‘piss off’ economics.ie they all piss off to somewhere that doesn’t tax them like that. waterbed theory of taxation.
Why did the Rolling Stones make Exile on Main Street in France…?

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Will these boats carry certain sucessful corporations out of Portland as they leave?

Vancouver is across the bridge and has no state income tax either!

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I hope they do! The fuckers. That way I’ll at least know what companies not to buy from.