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‘Millionaires tax,’ defense spending highlight Biden budget

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden unveiled his $5.8 trillion budget blueprint that includes a minimum tax for billionaires, trims budget deficits by $1 trillion over a decade and increases spending for the military and energy programs to secure the nation’s nuclear weapons.

“Budgets are statements of values,” Biden said in a statement accompanying his spending plan released Monday and forwarded to Congress.

Nevada-related spending includes $21.4 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains and secures weapons at locations that include the Nevada Nuclear Security Site north of Las Vegas.

Also included in the budget is increases for Pentagon procurement of weapons and an across-the-board 4.6-percent pay hike. Nevada has about 13,000 active-duty military personnel.

The budget does not include a funding request to restart the licensing process to build a permanent nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain, but does include $10.2 million to maintain security of the Nevada site, and for the management of the Nuclear Waste Fund Oversight program.

Strong headwinds

In the Senate, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled the Biden budget blueprint faces strong headwinds.

McConnell said Biden’s proposal is the “clearest possible reminder that the Biden administration’s far-left values are fundamentally disconnected from what American families actually need.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Biden budget zeroes in on inflation, prescription drug relief, health care coverage and increased domestic manufacturing.

Spending increases in the budget would be paid for with increased revenue from wealthy Americans and corporations. “We’ll make sure the richest Americans pay their fair share,” Schumer said.

Biden reiterated that no family making less than $400,000 per year would pay an additional penny in taxes in his budget.

Millionaire tax

The budget plan for fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1, would impose a minimum income tax on American households with more than $100 million in income and assets. It is expected to face opposition in Congress.

But the White House said the minimum tax on millionaires would raise $360 billion in new revenue over 10 years. According to the budget document, it would ensure the wealthiest Americans “no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters.”

According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, about 400 families with estimated income and assets of over $100 million paid an average of 8 percent a year in taxes over the past decade.

The proposal follows similar plans to increase taxes on the very wealthy by Democratic senators, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent.

Recent proposals, though, have been met with opposition by Republicans and by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

Still, the tax increases allow the Biden administration to project deficit reduction by $1 trillion over a decade.

Military spending

Biden also is seeking an increase in security and defense spending, with White House budget officials citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine under Russian President Vladamir Putin.

“I’m calling for continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin’s aggression against Ukraine with U.S. support for Ukraine’s economic, humanitarian and security needs,” Biden said.

The budget seeks $795 billion in defense spending for submarines and other tactical weapons.

Nevada is home to four military installations, Nellis and Creech Air Force bases, Fallon Naval Air Station and the Hawthorne Army Depot. In addition to weapons, the budget also calls for quality of life and housing improvements for military personnel.

Other Nevada-related spending in the budget includes:

— $3.2 billion for state and local law enforcement grants to improve crime prevention and community violence intervention.

— $367 million for police reform, hate crime prosecution and enforcement of voting rights.

— A portion of $1 billion in national spending for affordable housing in tribal communities.

— $254 million to accelerate renewable energy production – solar, wind and geothermal – on public lands.

— $477 million to ensure federal firefighers make at least $15 an hour to fight wildfires.

— Doubling of Pell Grants to $13,000 for eligible students from families earning $50,000 per year or less.

Contact Gary Martin at [email protected]. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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