New York Democratic lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that while NFL players – including six-time Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots – might not be subject to a recent tax hike she proposed, wealthy team owners in the league, would.
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In response to a joke made by GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas about imposing a top rate of 70 percent on the Patriots to even out competition, the New York Democrat said the average player would not earn enough to be affected.
Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialist, suggested imposing a 70 percent rate on those with incomes in excess of $10 million during an interview on “60 Minutes” last month to pay for a so-called “Green New Deal” — which would be a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure, aiming to eliminate carbon emissions in a little more than a decade.
The owners of both Super Bowl teams – the Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams – are billionaires.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft has an estimated net worth of $6.6 billion, according to Forbes. He purchased the team in 1994 for $172 million – it is now worth an estimated $3.8 billion.
Kraft also owns Gillette Stadium – the Patriots home field – as well as a number of other sports ventures. He has donated $600 million to charity.
Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is married to Walmart heiress Ann Walton. He has a net worth estimated at $8.5 billion.
The prominent real estate developer became sole owner of the Rams in 2020 – the team is now valued around $3.2 billion.
Kroenke also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the Premier League soccer club Arsenal, as well as various stadiums and media properties.
While Ocasio-Cortez noted the average NFL salary is $2.1 million, some of the players in this year's big game took home much heftier salaries in 2018.
The top-paid player, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, for example, made nearly $40.9 million in total cash in 2018.
Ocasio-Cortez is far from the only lawmaker to propose hiking taxes on the wealthiest Americans or the highest-earning Americans. Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders recently proposed an expansion of the estate tax – to a rate of 77 percent for those passing on assets worth more than $1 billion. Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, has called for an “ultra-millionaire tax” of 2 percent on those with more than $50 million in assets. The rate would rise to 3 percent for those with assets valued at more than $1 billion.
Tax hike proposals are gaining steam in the runup to the 2020 election. A recent Fox News Poll showed a majority – 51 percent – of respondents said they favored spending more on domestic programs over cutting taxes and reducing spending. Their preferred method of financing those projects is through taxing the wealthy. About 70 percent of voters favored raising taxes on those making more than $10 million each year.