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While the businessman noted that the ideological divide regarding taxation has never been so large in the U.S., he believes in something “in the middle.”
And that likely wouldn't include a wealth tax.
“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes, I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes,” Gates said during a New York Times DealBook conference on Wednesday. “If I’d had to have paid $20 billion in taxes – fine. But, when you say I should pay $100 billion, okay I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.”
While noting the government does need more resources, he voiced concern that raising taxes too high puts capital formation and innovation at risk in the U.S.
“You really want the incentive system to be there and you can go a long ways without threatening that,” he said.
Some of the ways he suggested adjusting the tax code include making the tax on capital the same as that on labor, and raising the estate tax.
Republicans raised the estate tax exemption under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to $11.18 million, meaning assets valued up to that amount can be transferred without triggering the 40 percent tax. In 2017, the exemption was $5.49 million per individual.
When asked whether he would consider running his tax ideas by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – a 2020 presidential hopeful who has proposed a wealth tax and is in favor or raising taxes on billionaires – Gates indicated he was not sure she would be too keen on hearing from him.
“I’m not sure how open-minded she is or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody, you know, who has large amounts of money,” Gates said.
In a tweeted response, Warren said she is always willing to meet with people who don't share her perspective.
Should the race ultimately come down to Warren and President Trump – Gates said he would support the candidate that had “the more professional approach,” even if he disagreed with some of the policies.
As previously reported by FOX Business, Gates has indicated he does not support raising the top income tax rate on the wealthy to rates as high as 70 percent, as has been proposed by some Democrats like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That, he said, can create tax evasion and disincentives.
He also previously hinted he may not support a wealth tax during an interview with Bloomberg.
The Microsoft co-founder, however, has made no secret that he believes he – and other wealthy individuals – should be paying more in taxes.