Backers of California 'Millionaire Tax' Target Kim Kardashian

January 3, 2012 - 8:06 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Kim Kardashian, the model who has parlayed reality TV fame into a personal fortune for her family and herself, is the target of a new online advertising campaign asking Californians to support a proposed ballot initiative to raise taxes on its wealthiest residents.

An online video from the Courage Campaign flashes images of Kardashian living the good life and proclaiming that "being on TV has changed my life, because you get lots of free stuff."

The video says Kardashian made $12 million in 2010 but paid just 1 percentage point more in California income taxes than someone making $47,000 — 10.3 percent vs. 9.3 percent.

The video ad, which is posted at www.Taxkimk.com , urges 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.

A spokeswoman for Kardashian, Pearl Servat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday from The Associated Press.

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 percent to 5 percent for individuals who make more than $1 million 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, programs for the elderly and public safety.

Forbes magazine estimated Kardashian made $12 million in 2010.

Through their reality TV show, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and other promotions, Kardashian, her two sisters and their mother have created a celebrity brand name for themselves, appearing in endorsements for everything from weight-loss products to fast food.

Their father, Robert Kardashian, was an attorney and close friend of O.J. Simpson who played a prominent role in his murder trial.

After a lavish, made-for-TV wedding event last summer that reportedly netted the couple millions of dollars in royalties, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce in October, citing irreconcilable differences just 10 weeks after she wed NBA player Kris Humphries.

The couple's star-studded, black-tie ceremony was held at an exclusive canyon estate near Santa Barbara in the seaside enclave of Montecito. Kardashian wore three different designer wedding gowns, complemented by her 20.5 carat engagement ring. The couple's wedding registry at a Beverly Hills jeweler totaled $172,000 and included such items as a $1,650 coffee pot and two $1,250 sterling silver vegetable spoons.

The one-minute Courage Campaign ad flashes pictures of Kim Kardashian in fur and jewels, then compares her 10.3 percent income tax rate with that of a "middle-class Californian" who makes $47,000 a year and pays 9.3 percent.

"Don't you think she could pay a little more?" the ad asks as pictures of schoolchildren, firefighters and an elderly woman appear. "Especially to fund education and critical services?"

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, Courage Campaign spokeswoman Ana Beatriz Cholo said.