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Iowa Business Leaders Support the Buffett Rule

Today, Tax Day, two prominent Iowa business leaders Fred S. Hubbell and William C. Knapp released statements in support of President Obama’s proposed Buffett Rule. The Buffett Rule will close loopholes and end special tax breaks that let some of the wealthiest pay a lower tax rate than many middle-class families. The Buffett Rule could make the tax code fairer, reduce the deficit and invest in strengthening our economy.

Statement from Fred S. Hubbell:

“The nation is engaged in a debate on how best to move our economy forward. One side advocates a ‘you’re on your own’ strategy, which unfortunately has left America’s middle class reeling. I have learned after years of experience in the financial services industry, our country needs a large and robust middle class to support consistent economic growth.

"One way to build up our middle class is to change our tax code. While millions of hard-working families pay their share, the current code provides subsidies through credits, deductions, exemptions and special low rates that allow millionaires and billionaires to dramatically reduce their share of overall tax revenue.

“Warren Buffet famously said it is ridiculous he and other Americans making over $1 million pay a lower tax rate than his own secretary and many middle class families. I agree. People like me don’t need another tax break that will add to the deficit and the country can’t afford while we squeeze the middle class.

“That is why I support President Obama’s proposed Buffett Rule and call on Congress to pass legislation enacting the rule. Closing loopholes and getting rid of excessive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires will not balance the budget by itself, but it could be a start and it begins to address the inherent unfairness in the current tax code. It will also provide funds to invest in better education, more reliable infrastructure, and innovation to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.”

Statement from William C. Knapp:

“Asking the wealthiest Americans to do their part is not class warfare – it’s just fair. President Obama’s proposed Buffett Rule is based on the simple principle of fairness and the idea that the same set of rules should apply to everyone.

“The Buffett Rule is also a vital investment in our country and programs many Americans rely on. If the rule was applied to just one of the top 400 richest taxpayers, we could pay for 5,400 maximum Pell Grants, close the Medicare coverage gap or ‘donut hole’ for 49,500 seniors, or put 3,600 children in Head Start. In Iowa, more than 203,000 students receive Pell Grants, and might not be able to afford college otherwise. The Medicare “donut hole,” hits 42,000 seniors that struggle to pay for their prescription drugs. And over 3,000 children depend on the Head Start program to get an early education.

“I understand as other business leaders do, for their business to be successful and for our economy to grow, we must invest in our country and give everyone a fair shot to compete in our economy. If the Buffett Rule were enacted, everyone would pay their fair share, helping to reduce the deficit and continue investments in programs that create jobs, grow our economy and strengthen the middle-class.”

Fred S. Hubbell was a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of Insurance and Asset Management Americas for ING Group, and served as an Executive Board Member from 2000 through 2006. Mr. Hubbell was formerly Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equitable of Iowa Companies, an insurance holding company, serving in his position as Chairman from 1993 to 1997, and as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1989 to 1997.

William C. Knapp is Chairman Emeritus of Knapp Properties, Inc. After two years in the United States Navy and graduating from the American Institute of Business, Bill Knapp founded Iowa Realty in 1952 and gradually built the company into the premier real estate company in Iowa. Knapp Properties, Inc. was formed by Bill Knapp to continue the development and management of his real estate business.

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