The Oregonian Reports Highest Paid Executive “Glad” to Pay Federal Income Taxes

Chuck Sheketoff

The nation’s highest paid executive is “glad” to pay federal income taxes, according to a front page story in The Oregonian.

Well, at least in a front page story in The Oregonian on March 17, 1950 (PDF).

That year the highest paid executive in the U.S. was Charles Skouras, the head of National Amusement Co. Inc. and Far West agency, according to the report in The Oregonian. His $800,000 salary ($7.6 million in 2012 dollars) was taxed by the federal government at 92 percent.

“I just pay 92 percent. That’s easy to figure,” Skouras explained. “If I got to pay it I’m glad to pay it to the United States government.”

Today, top CEOs make much more than Skouras made in his day, they pay a top marginal federal tax rate of 35 percent, and rare are those among them who declare they are glad to pay taxes.

Some high-income business people in Oregon, however, don’t mind paying taxes.

Members of the Equity Alliance of Oregon “believe that sustaining and investing in state infrastructure will strengthen our business environment” and that “taxes are necessary to meet our common goals as a society.”

And they have ideas about how to improve our revenue system.

Let’s hope that we soon find the Equity Alliance of Oregon and their ideas on the front page of The Oregonian.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at

  • (Show?)

    I was wondering what his overall rate was, assuming that 92% was his top marginal rate. From what I found, it was likely to be 77%, the cap on effective tax rates for '49. Still a nice contribution to our H-bomb program!

  • (Show?)

    Thank you Chuck for the call out for Equity Alliance Oregon. We are a new business group with the goal of speaking out for state investments in infrastructure (schools, universities, transportation, courts, etc.) and recognizing that it takes taxes to support these investments. If we keep cutting taxes on the wealthy and large corporations then we cannot make the investments that are necessary for a modern economy.

    Ballot Measure 84, Mannix's attempt to eliminate Estate taxes and cut capital gains taxes is a classic case of cutting taxes on the wealthy (only the top 2% pay estate taxes) which will lead in turn if it is passed to more teacher layoffs. We have seen enough of this over the past 30 years.

    If you are interested in this and come from a business background I encourage you to go to our website link above and register your support.

open discussion

connect with blueoregon