(TNS) — A California Senate bill that would force large corporations to pay higher taxes has the support of an heiress to one of the state’s most famous companies.
When Abigail Disney testified last Wednesday in favor of Senate Bill 37 to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, she said she wasn’t speaking in any kind of official capacity, but she acknowledged that her last name carries weight.
“It’s a name that people around the world associate with all of the highest aspirations of the American people,” she said.
Disney said she supports SB 37, which would force corporations making more than $10 million in a year to pay between 2 percent and 6 percent more in taxes, depending on how much the CEO makes compared to the average employee.
The California Chamber of Commerce has added the bill, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, to its “job killer list,” warning that it would deter companies from coming to or investing in California.
“Moreover, SB 37 will likely harm California workers, whose jobs will be jeopardized as companies try to counteract the costs of higher taxes by reducing their presence in California,” the chamber said in a statement last year.
Disney criticized that argument in her testimony.
“I’m still trying to figure out why it would be a job killer, because it would leave a company more money to invest in hiring and capital improvements. That’s patent nonsense,” Disney said.
Disney testified that 50 years ago, when her grandfather, Roy Disney, was running the company founded by Walt Disney, the pay ratio between employees and the CEO was one to 20. Today, Disney said, the ratio at top corporations exceeds one to 1,000.
“This is a problem of corporate culture 50 years in the making. The result of a concerted campaign to convince businesspeople, pundits, politicians and the American people that up is down, wrong is right, and more than anything that greed is good,” Disney said.
Among those testifying against the bill on Wednesday was Peter Blocker of the California Taxpayers Association.
“Tax increases like these usually often fall on employees and consumers,” Blocker said in his testimony. “At some point, tax increases on business impacts individuals through less economic growth, lower wages, higher prices, fewer jobs, or decreased returns in retirement investment.”
The committee ultimately voted four to two to approve the bill, advancing it forward. In response, Skinner tweeted her support for the vote and the bill, and offered her thanks to Disney for testifying on its behalf.
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