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Billionaires are migrating. Who is Noel Frame, and why is she okay with Jeff Bezos fleeing to Miami?


[i][b]Photo above[/b] - Jeff Bezos newest yacht, the 420 foot "Koru". Yes, it actually IS a sailboat. Yes it DOES have black sails, like something from a Disney pirate movie. And yes, it does have a 247 foot motorized "support vessel" where helicopters and extra staff are kept at the ready. Neither vessel will be docked in Seattle. Jeff has moved to Miami.[/i]

When I stumbled on yet another Bezos migrant story (link at bottom) – with commentary by a local Seattle politician no less - I was expecting a counterpunch. Something along the lines of [i]"Bezos IS NOT leaving because of the proposed billionaires' tax".[/i] That may be true, but state senator Noel Frame certainly doesn't make this case. In fact, she now says that she predicted Bezos would leave. See below for details. (Does this seem like Aesop's fable about the fox and the grapes to you, too?)

[b]Noel Frame[/b] – in case you've never heard of her (and I hadn't before yesterday) – is the mastermind behind Washington state's proposed billionaire wealth tax. Which sounds kind of okay, until you ask her about the details. First, it doesn't apply just to billionaires. Anyone with more than $250 million in stocks, treasury bills, mutual funds, banks balances, equity in a company he or she founded – or ever worked for – is being targeted. Still, that's not a lot of people, is it? Well, those guys are harder to count than you'd imagine. Competing websites, competing claims. Somewhere between 50,000 Americans and 5,000. You'd think the federal government would have a handle on this, no? Maybe those 61,000 new IRS agents do have their work cut out for them, after all.

In any case, the court system doesn't appear to be any better at untangling this. How much is Donald Trump worth? Ask a prosecutor, and then the defense team. Probably more than $1 Billion. Probably less than $10 Billion. You can see the problem here. Any time the State of Washington wants to confiscate X% of the assets from some guy, he's just going to call his lawyer, who he already has on speed dial. [i]“Hello – Dewey, Cheatem and Howe? Connect me to Aaron Bernstein, please. He's in court? Have him call me back ASAP. I'm definitely going to court, too. I just got a tax bill in today's snail mail.”[/i] If Washington State doesn't exclude real estate holdings from the wealth calculation, it could get REALLY ugly. How much is that office building worth? Not last year's value. . . . I mean now that there's a homeless camp on the sidewalk in front of it? Probably not worth as much as the tax collector imagines.

[b]Back to Washington state senator Noel Frame, [/b]the mastermind behind the billionaire tax. She was elected last year and earns $57,000 annually as 36th district state senator. Her Wikipedia page and bio are mute on details like college degrees, work history, and net worth. For someone who spends all her time thinking about other people's money, you'd expect a little more transparency, no? In any case, $57,000 a year is chump change, as many people would point out. Especially in Seattle, which is an expensive city to live in. So what are Noel Frame's thoughts on Bezos' daring escape? [i]“Jeff Bezos is far from the only billionaire in Washington state.[/i]” Yes, she really, really said that. It's a direct quote from the article. You can probably see why dumb people making $57,000 a year shouldn't be in charge of tax legislation.

[b]But why a billionaire wealth tax, specifically?[/b] Here's where it gets really bizarre. The state of Washington apparently has ZERO income tax. None on personal income, none on corporate profits. How the heck does THAT happen, in the year of our lord 2023? Washington does have a LOT of other taxes: a statewide consumption (sales tax) rate of 6.5%. Local sales taxes of 4%. Real estate taxes. And capital gains taxes, if you sell some shares of stock before moving out of state. Whether you're retiring to someplace warmer and friendlier, or just fleeing taxes, homelessness, and dystopia in general. Which is evidently what Bezos is up to.

[b]Jeff Bezos doesn't actually run Amazon anymore.[/b] He has people who do that for him. But Jeff still owns A LOT of Amazon stock. Nearly $200 billion (with a B) worth. So right off the bat, if Jeff hadn't fled, Washington might have goosed up their tax receipts by a couple of billion a year. But if you think the 1% annual wealth tax is why Jeff moved to Florida, you'd be wrong. Even state senator Noel Frame seems too dense to figure it out, so don't blame yourself either. Mr. Bezos is avoiding that 7% capital gains tax. All Jeff's money is tied up in Amazon stock. Any time he sells shares, 7% will be skimmed right off the top by the state of Washington. Suppose Jeff wants to sell “half” to diversify his investments, in an uncertain world, full of wars and energy crises? Or because he wants to start a solar company, a wind turbine company, a lithium battery recycling company, or a newspaper that doesn't lose $100 million a year, the way his toy the Washington Post does? 7% is a powerful reason to NEVER sell your stock. Or to move as far away as you can, THEN sell it.

I'm just sayin' . . .

[b][u]Washington state senator behind wealth tax proposal responds to Bezos' departure – GeekWire[/u][/b]
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Longleggedlady · 31-35, F
It is just another version of they come up with a stupid idea to tax the wealthy and the wealth that is going to be impossible to implement, wealth just packs it's suitcases and relocates to some place else that is more user friendly. But what it does mean by trying to make the wealth and wealthy pay more is that because it relocates they actually collect less than they were getting before they came up with the stupid plan. Secondly it also removes the spending power from that economy and causes a downturn of it in that area which can include the real estate values of both commercial and residential as nobody wants to move in and have to pay the taxes
SunshineGirl · 36-40, F
@Longleggedlady First, if these are Amazon jobs or similar they have already been underwritten by vast public funds in (a) 'attracting' a retail facility to a locality; (b) subsidising low wages and mitigating the social harm flowing from them; (c) maintaining essential infrastructure (roads, communications, emergency services) that the aforesaid corporate leviathan has made bugger-all financial contribution towards. The second point is valid, but is perhaps a warning of the consequences of putting all your eggs into one corporate, tax-evading basket (as opposed to paying workers decently and ensurung that wealth - and taxpaying capacity - is more widely distributed).
SunshineGirl · 36-40, F
Right, well this is the juggling act that tax authorities the world over are obliged to perform. Little point in relying upon a higher band income tax, because the wealthiest can easily spirit away liquid assets or make them disappear altogether on a carefully constructed balance sheet. Capital gains and property taxes traditionally work better because you cannot transport an office building to the Bahamas overnight. But if the capital is more mobile, then you are reliant upon inter-state or international cooperation to pin down the greedy b*****d.

Not sure why a tax legislator requires a "high net worth" as qualification for the job. In the UK the conservative administration likes to use management consultants from the big accountacy firms. Ethically and practically very dubious.

My solution would be to impound Mr B's large boat when it next finds port, as we did with the Russian kleptocrats in Lindon. Won't raise much revenue, but gives the hard-pressed average taxpayer a bit of a laugh 😅
SunshineGirl · 36-40, F
@Longleggedlady Righty-ho. In the UK these are viewed as the natural extension of internationally agreed economic sanctions against persons closely associated with a violent, lawbreaking regime. They are being administered by our extremely risk averse revenue authority. And good luck trying to defame some of the shady characters involved 😉
Longleggedlady · 31-35, F
@SunshineGirl Governments are not above the law, there are a good few very high end lawyers that are preparing legal matters.
Saying and thinking that assets belong to Mr A is one thing, in law you have to be able to prove it. You also cannot go around and make accusations that someone is a known associate of another person unless you can prove it.
There are some whether you like it or not cases where there has been illegal acts committed and there is clear cases of discrimination and xenophobia.
If you are going to punish Russia and Russian individuals then those same rules have now got to be applied to Israel and Israelis including the international arrest warrant for Netanyahu.
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@SunshineGirl i'm sorry if i gave the impression that only wealthy people should political office. that's actually to opposite of my view. however, Noel Frame is a state senator in Washington, where THERE IS NO INCOME TAX AT ALL. It's the height of insanity to be taxing someone else's savings, when you don't even tax at least a sliver of people's income.
wildbill83 · 36-40, M
sounds like Noel could be the next Jimmy Hoffa... 🤔

paying unscrupulous characters to get rid of your enemies is certainly much cheaper than lawyers, just ask hillary...
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SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@jshm2 the crazy thing is . . . this is probably what the founding fathers had in mind. different states with wildly different tax policies, land/zoning policies, etc. And people allowed to migrate away from the most poorly run areas.

what the founding fathers didn't count on was voter apathy, epidemic narcotic use, and a police force which is unresponsive to crime.
Virgo79 · 61-69, M
Hey, well, we know taxes and fines fixes everything right😏
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@Virgo79 congress set up a special bank for its members with zero overdraft fees. so i guess they do see situations where fines aren't needed.

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