Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, asked Twitter to vote in a poll which would decide if he should sell 10% of his stock in Tesla, promising to abide by the results of the poll.
Musk posed the question on Saturday, to which 3.5 million people responded by voting. Based on the results of the poll, where 58% said to sell and 42% said to hold onto the stock, he will be selling 10% of his shares of stock in Tesla, which has been estimated to equate to about $21 billion.
The proposition was made due to the increased topic of unrealized gains, saying in the tweet, “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance…”. He was referring to a new bill which would tax billionaires to fund another bill focused on social spending and safety net expansion.
Since most billionaires make the majority of their money from assets, real estate, and other passive income sources, which aren’t taxed, their gross tax rate ends up being around 8%. Musk is opposed to the bill, saying on Twitter that “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”
“Who is best at capital allocation – government or entrepreneurs – is indeed what it comes down to,” he said in another tweet, adding that reallocation of wealth is better managed by those in the private sector than those in the government. If the tax bill were to pass, Musk could face $10-5 billion in taxes yearly.
This was not the first time Musk had talked of selling his shares. Musk’s net worth reached $335 billion this year largely due to the increased value of Tesla shares. In fact, last week, the stock hit an all-time high of $1229.91 per share.
In September, Musk said he was planning to sell soon as his marginal tax rate would exceed 50% once his stock options at Tesla expired. “I have a bunch of options that are expiring early next year, so … a huge block of options will sell in Q4 — because I have to or they’ll expire.” This comes as several Tesla board members have sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock due to the rising value.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who proposed the billionaire tax plan that Musk is opposed to, criticized Musk’s tweet, also tweeting: “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the billionaires income tax.”
ARTICLE: RITA VOGT
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BUSINESS INSIDER
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