Patagonia sent a letter to Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, both Democrats whose doubts have left President Biden’s sweeping $3.5 trillion budget package — and massive energy reform — on the brink.
In an unusual business and political move, Patagonia publicly announced it would pay a higher corporate tax rate as an incentive to two key senators whose votes may push through what the brand called a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to avoid a worsening climate crisis.”
The pledge was formally presented to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in a letter from Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert. Both senators have expressed doubts about the $3.5 trillion budget bill before Congress.
That bill, which lacks Republican support, includes ambitious changes to America’s energy sector, targeted at reducing the country’s carbon footprint and helping mitigate a worsening climate crisis.
Patagonia did not immediately respond to GearJunkie’s request for further information on just how high its tax hike would go.
Patagonia Volunteers to Pay Higher Taxes
On behalf of Patagonia’s employees and the planet we all depend on, I write to strongly urge your support for the once-in-a-generation opportunity to avoid the direst impacts of the climate crisis and give working families the support they deserve through the budget reconciliation package. These are urgent issues that demand immediate attention.
Sound fiscal policy is certainly a key concern in considering how to best set up America’s future generations for success. But as the conservationist David Brower said, “There is no business to be done on a dead planet.” The cost of inaction will be far higher than the cost of investing in science-based climate policies now.
Patagonia is willing to pay a higher corporate tax rate to generate new revenue needed to fund the reconciliation package. Another viable source of funding is to eliminate tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. As you know, U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry account for approximately $20 billion each year, and cost Americans more than $649 billion annually when considering other health, environmental and climate externalities. Cutting these subsidies would not only push the needle on reducing emissions but also save significant taxpayer dollars that could be repurposed to fund a just transition for workers in [West Virginia, Arizona] and beyond.
The investments in this critical legislation would not only accelerate an energy economy based on wind and solar, but would also fund the Civilian Climate Corps and go a long way to protect threatened landscapes such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Oak Flat, as well as offer important wildfire mitigation.
Beyond taking action on climate, I also ask that you prioritize paid leave for workers. At Patagonia, we’ve seen firsthand how essential it is to support our employees with onsite child care and paid leave to maintaining a robust and engaged workforce. Yet, nationally, fewer than 21 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers. Attracting and retaining top talent and a speedy economic recovery depend on enabling people to return to the labor force by addressing the urgent issues of paid leave and child care availability.
Ryan Gellert, CEO, Patagonia