ShareThis Page
Home

Employers' tax cut faces Senate demise

| Friday, April 20, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Republicans rammed an election-year, $46 billion tax cut for most of America's employers through the House on Thursday, ignoring a White House veto threat in a debate both parties used to show voters how they would bolster the economy.

The near party-line 235-173 vote moved the bill to the Senate, where Democrats controlling the chamber are sure to ignore it. But the measure's inevitable demise was secondary to the chance it gave each side to offer its prescriptions for creating jobs, echoing the battle that seems certain to dominate this fall's contest for the White House between President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

"This is straight-up something to help small businesses keep more of their money while they're having so much difficulty keeping the lights on, and instead giving them the ability to grow," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the measure's sponsor.

"This is not about mom and pop," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. "It's about popping the cork for wealthy taxpayers."

Eighteen Democrats and 10 Republicans defected from their party's positions on the bill.

The vote was the second partisan tax showdown in the Capitol this week, prompted by Tuesday's deadline for filing tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. On Monday, Democrats failed to push a "Buffett Rule" tax on the rich through the Senate, another outcome that was preordained but served political purposes for both sides.

The House GOP measure would let employers with fewer than 500 workers deduct 20 percent of their domestic earnings this year -- a calculation that would let businesses show a smaller income before determining the taxes they owe. More than 99 percent of U.S. employers have workforces that size, Census Bureau figures show, but that did not stop Republicans from naming the legislation the Small Business Tax Cut Act.

Democrats argued that the bill was too unfocused, providing the tax cut if a company hired no new employees or even if it fired some. They also complained that it was too generous to wealthy individuals owning small firms and to extremely successful businesses.

One estimate by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said 49 percent of its tax breaks would go to taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me