Mark Cuban accepts our Challenge

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

Published August 20, 2011 4:20PM (EDT)

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.

By Peter Finocchiaro

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Patriotic Billionaire Challenge