A contingent led by the California Nurses Association donned pointed green caps before meeting with staffers from Representative Susan Davis's office on Friday morning, requesting her support of HR 1579, a bill introduced last year by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and dubbed the Robin Hood Tax by supporters.
Titled the Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2013 by Ellison, the bill provides for a 0.5 percent tax to be levied on stock sales, as well as a smaller tax to be applied to the sale of other securities and derivatives. The law was originally intended to target "high frequency trading," a practice in which stock brokers use complex computer algorithms to rapidly buy and sell large volumes of stock, sometimes holding shares for only a fraction of a second. Analysts have estimated that anywhere between 50 and 70 percent of all U.S. trades are done via these computer automations.
The bill has not garnered any real discussion since its introduction nearly a year ago, though it has slowly picked up supporters, with 24 listed co-sponsors as of April 4.
Seeking to revive interest in the proposal, activists nationwide chose 22 legislators to target as potential new co-sponsors.
The group filed into Davis's office in University Heights and was received by field director Daniel Hazard, who seemed generally receptive to the concerns expressed, though he said Davis had not yet had an opportunity to review the bill.
"This is certainly something we'll take a look at," Hazard said, noting that Davis's current economic focus was on unemployment benefits and securing an increase in the federal minimum wage.
Several in the crowd fired back that they had come to Davis asking for her support when the bill was first introduced in 2013, though most in the room pledged their continued backing for the Democrat.
"It's not too late — she can still get on board with this," intoned Jeff Olson, a supporter of the transaction tax and experienced financial sector activist whose sidewalk chalk protests outside a Bank of America garnered national headlines and criticism of city attorney Jan Goldsmith.