Congresswoman Lee Introduces Bill to Address Income Inequality and End Corporate Welfare

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lee introduced theIncome Equity Act. This legislation will help address rising income inequality and ensure taxpayers are not footing the bill for astronomical CEO pay.

“While big corporations enjoy record profits, working families are finding it harder to pay their bills and put food on the table. Yet, taxpayers are still subsidizing millions of dollars in bonuses and so-called “performance pay” for CEOs and high paid executives,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “We should be rewarding companies that pay their workers a living wage, not those companies that are handing out exorbitant bonuses to executives. My bill would take real steps to address income inequality and hold corporations accountable for how they treat their workers.”

The Income Equity Act would prohibit companies from taking tax deductions for excessive compensation, defined as $500,000 or any pay more than twenty-five times the salary of the company’s median wage earner. Currently, the tax code limits the deductibility of wage income to $1 million. As a result, complex compensation packages of stock options, housing allowances, cars, drivers and private planes have arisen to exploit this loophole. This legislation would close the loophole that allows companies to abuse the tax system and forces taxpayers to subsidize excessive compensation for the super rich.

“Let’s be clear, limiting the tax deductibility of out-of-control pay packages does not stop any company from compensating their executives as they see fit. It merely ends the practice of taxpayers footing the bill,” added Congresswoman Lee. “Congress should be helping working families – not offering corporate handouts.”

Read the Congresswoman’s blog post on the Income Equity Act at Medium.com.


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.