SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA // Kim Kardashian, can't you pay more? Proponents of a proposed tax increase on millionaires in California are asking that question of the outsize personality, who has parlayed her reality TV celebrity status into fame and personal fortune.
An online video from the Courage Campaign targets the star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Kourtney and Kim Take New York as part of its campaign for a proposed November ballot initiative to raise taxes on the wealthiest Californians.
The video ad flashes images of Ms Kardashian enjoying the good life, proclaiming that "being on TV has changed my life, because you get lots of free stuff".
It says Ms Kardashian made US$12 million (Dh44m) in 2010 but paid just 1 percentage point more in California income taxes than someone making $47,000 - 10.3 per cent vs. 9.3 per cent. The ad, which is posted here, urges Ms Kardashian to support the proposal for a tax increase.
"Not everyone was born a Kardashian, but we all need to pay our fair share," it says.
The Courage Campaign and the California Federation of Teachers are among the groups backing a so-called millionaire's tax that would raise income tax rates by 3 per cent to 5 per cent for individuals who make more than $1m a year.
Proponents say the tax would raise about $6 billion to help fund public schools and local services that have been hit hard during the recession, such as social services, programmes for the elderly and public safety.
If the groups are successful in getting their tax initiative on the November ballot, they would likely pursue a television ad on the same theme, the campaign spokeswoman Ana Beatriz Cholo said.
Tax revenue to the state has dropped $17bn since the 2007/08 fiscal year, requiring billions of dollars a year in budget cuts.
The millionaires tax is one of several ballot proposals circulating in California seeking to increase income taxes on the wealthy as a way to help close the state's annual budget deficit. In 2010, about 41,000 Californians reported adjusted gross income more than $1m, paying about $13.1bn in taxes to the state, according to the Franchise Tax Board.
A proposal by the governor, Jerry Brown, also seeks to raise taxes temporarily, and he has been reaching out to wealthy donors who could help finance his initiative campaign.