Mark Cuban accepts our Challenge

The billionaire entrepreneur says he'd be OK with a tax increase ... under certain conditions

Topics: Patriotic Billionaire Challenge,

Mark Cuban accepts our Challenge

The Patriotic Billionaire Challenge has a new entrant.

Salon contacted the 20 richest people in America earlier this week, our lone question, inspired by Warren Buffett, being whether or not they would accept tax hikes in order to help reduce the deficit. From that original crop of uber-wealthy, only two have responded with definitive yes-or-no answers, while a half-dozen others declined to comment. That in mind, we decided to branch out and learn what some other outspoken billionaires might think of Buffett’s proposal.

Enter, Mark Cuban.

The entrepreneur is a latter-day media magnate, with holdings including 2929 Entertainment (which owns Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures and HDNet). He also moonlights as owner of the Dallas Mavericks, reigning NBA champs. Overall, Mr. Cuban is worth an estimated $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.

We reached out to Cuban on Thursday, and received a response yesterday afternoon. And, while his answer isn’t exactly an unqualified yes, he doesn’t seem to be of a hard-line position on the matter of taxes.



I have absolutely no problem paying more taxes. None.

What I have a problem with is how the money is spent.  If the incremental money could be directed to defined and deserved recipients.  I would be thrilled to write the check.

The problem I have is not on the revenue side, its on the expenditure side. Too much money is wasted on bureaucracy, adminis-trivia,  pensions and over expansive federal employment. 

So I’m a resounding yes on more taxes, but an attachment to the funding to be directly spent on approved programs. If a program doesn’t deliver 95pct or better to its intended recipients, it should be put on hold until it does.

Peter Finocchiaro is a senior editor at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @PLFino.

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    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
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    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

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    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
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    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

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    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

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    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
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    Dictators, Bowery 1976
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    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
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    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

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    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
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