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New York – More than 150 New Yorkers marched to the home of a Wall Street 1%er, Bruce Kovner, to demand he pay his fair share of taxes. The action followed one of the 99% Spring trainings held in New York City today where participants learned non-violent direct action and the causes of the economic crisis. At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and with the poverty rate at record levels, Hedge Fund Managers like Bruce Kovner pay zero in city and state taxes.
“The rules that the 99% have to follow don’t seem to apply to the top 1%,” said VOCAL-NY Board member and leader Bobby Tolbert, who said he is HIV-positive and fears possible cuts to food and housing programs for people living with AIDS, “Even our billionaire Mayor Bloomberg says he supports a tax on hedge fund managers who pay nothing in city and state taxes, but when it’s time to negotiate the city budget, whose side is he on? Billionaires like Bruce Kovner.”
Community leaders marched 10 blocks from East Harlem to the Upper East Side using “the people’s mic” popularized by Occupy Wall Street urging residents to tell their local billionaire to “be like Buffet.” Billionaire Warren Buffet called for increased taxes on the super rich and acknowledged that the tax code favors people like himself. When they arrived at Kovner’s house they chanted, “Hey Bruce – be like Buffet” and “Hey you millionaires…pay your fair share” the crowd including some in Robin Hood costumes caught the attention of neighbors and passersby.
“We went to Bruce Kovner’s house – he didn’t let us in. But we’ll be back and we won’t stop until he acts like Buffet and pays his fair share,” said Community Voices Heard member Kim Lloyd.
The New Yorkers attending the action called for the immediate passage of state carried interest, or a Hedge Fund tax to support a fair NYC budget. Carried interest, the primary means for hedge fund managers to earn income is not taxed at all in New York City or State. This means the state is denied vital revenue while facing severe cuts.
The Senate is expected to vote on the Buffet Rule next week, which would require millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes. The group believes in order to solve the country’s revenue crisis that in addition to the Buffet rule we need the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest to expire, and to enact a tax on Wall Street Speculation.