Florida Senate - 2018                                    SM 1658
       By Senator Farmer
       34-01501A-18                                          20181658__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the Congress of the United States,
    3         requesting Congress to adopt budgetary and other
    4         measures to reduce income inequality.
    6         WHEREAS, every United States resident should have the
    7  opportunity to achieve his or her maximum potential, and
    8         WHEREAS, for more than three decades, there has been a huge
    9  transfer of income from the middle class to a small percentage
   10  of the upper class, weakening the economic and social well-being
   11  of many residents, and
   12         WHEREAS, according to research published on September 3,
   13  2013, by Emmanuel Saez at the University of California,
   14  Berkeley, in 1976 the top 1 percent of earners took home 9
   15  percent of the total income, but in 2012 the top 1 percent of
   16  earners took home 22.5 percent of the total income, and
   17         WHEREAS, Emmanuel Saez’s research also concluded that
   18  between 1976 and 2012, the total income taken home by the top 10
   19  percent of earners increased from 33 percent to more than 50
   20  percent, and between 2009 and 2012, a period of economic
   21  recovery, the top 1 percent of earners captured 95 percent of
   22  all income gains, and
   23         WHEREAS, according to a November 5, 2014, report by the
   24  Council of Economic Advisers within the Executive Office of the
   25  President, if the percentage of income earned by the bottom 90
   26  percent of earners was the same in 2013 as it was in 1973, the
   27  median annual household income adjusted for family size would
   28  have been 18 percent higher, and
   29         WHEREAS, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of
   30  Consumer Finances, the top 1 percent of households controlled
   31  38.3 percent of the nation’s total wealth, an increase from 36.3
   32  percent in 2013, and the top 10 percent of households controlled
   33  77.2 percent of the nation’s total wealth, leaving the bottom 90
   34  percent of households controlling only 22.8 percent of the
   35  nation’s total wealth, and
   36         WHEREAS, since the 1970s, increases in income inequality
   37  are widely viewed to be the result of stagnant wage growth,
   38  technological change, globalization, declines in labor union
   39  memberships, oversized executive salaries, and reductions in
   40  employment and retirement benefits, and
   41         WHEREAS, children born into low-income families are less
   42  likely to have access to early childhood education, more likely
   43  to attend poorly funded schools that deliver inferior K-12
   44  education, and less likely to attend or complete college, and
   45         WHEREAS, increasing income inequality limits job creation,
   46  educational attainment, health conditions, and future
   47  opportunities for young persons, and
   48         WHEREAS, federal, state, and local governments have
   49  insufficient tax revenue to adequately fund their essential
   50  responsibilities, including health care, education, and child
   51  and elderly welfare, to ensure the well-being of all residents,
   52  and
   53         WHEREAS, the wide income disparity and the unprecedented
   54  transfer of wealth pose a significant threat to the United
   55  States’ economy and democracy, contribute to a breakdown of
   56  residents’ trust in the fair functioning of the economy,
   57  undermine residents’ well-being, and threaten the middle class
   58  with a less secure and prosperous future, NOW, THEREFORE,
   60  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   62         That the Congress of the United States is requested to:
   63         (1) Modernize and reform personal income taxes to close tax
   64  loopholes, simplify the preparation of tax returns, and make the
   65  payment of taxes less regressive.
   66         (2) Reform corporate income taxes to ensure that all
   67  corporations pay a minimum tax, eliminate offshore tax havens
   68  and special interest exemptions, and close tax loopholes.
   69         (3) Increase the minimum wage in incremental steps over
   70  time so that it represents a living wage.
   71         (4) Adequately fund essential federal government
   72  responsibilities, including public safety, the courts, health
   73  care, and programs that ensure the well-being of children and
   74  the elderly.
   75         (5) Provide substantially increased funding to programs
   76  that support the unemployed and others in need, including, but
   77  not limited to, unemployment compensation programs, job training
   78  programs, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program,
   79  affordable housing programs, and food and nutritional assistance
   80  programs.
   81         (6) Provide increased funding for early childhood education
   82  programs, public schools, and vocational and technical education
   83  programs to help secure a more prosperous future for young
   84  persons.
   85         (7) Enact strong legislation to contain health care costs,
   86  including prescription drug costs, and ensure that action is
   87  taken to identify, prosecute, and punish those who commit health
   88  care fraud.
   89         (8) Provide funding over a multiyear period to repair and
   90  enhance the infrastructure of the United States, including, but
   91  not limited to, public roads, highways, bridges, and buildings.
   92         (9) Ensure that federal law is sufficient and federal
   93  agencies are adequately funded to ensure effective regulation of
   94  financial institutions and investment firms and to punish those
   95  who intentionally deceive the public.
   96         (10) Appoint a special study commission to examine the
   97  adequacy of consumer protection, including consumer credit,
   98  subprime automobile loans, title loans, residential mortgages,
   99  telemarketing, consumer products, and employment law and to
  100  ensure that federal laws relating to consumer protection are
  101  strongly enforced.
  102         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State dispatch
  103  copies of this memorial to the President of the United States,
  104  the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the
  105  United States House of Representatives, and each member of the
  106  Florida delegation to the United States Congress.