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The Wealthy Have To Pay A Little More As We Avoid The Fiscal Cliff, or Did We?

Late last night Vice President Biden and  Senate Leaders worked out a deal to temporarily avoid the so-called Fiscal Cliff.  The plan was brokered after midnight even after the US House said there would be no vote on the Fiscal Cliff, and had basically given up on the idea of compromise.

The deal is good in many ways.  It permanently  secures the tax cuts for the middle class to avoid a huge jump in taxes for all Americans.  The biggest news is that the deal, which moves to the House today, includes a significant revenue increase.  For those who make more than $400,000 ($450,000 for couples) will see a 4% increase.

The bill also increases the rates on capitol gains taxes from 15% to 20%.   While this is not the rates and numbers that President Obama campaigned on however in a negotiation you have to give a little as well.

“This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way – by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.”
President Barack Obama 1-1-13

The proposed bill includes a “cap on personal exemptions and itemized deductions for income above $250,000, or $300,000 per household.”

Another fabulous part of this bill is that it extends the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Tuition Tax Credit for the next five years.  These are tax credits that are specifically designed to help the middle and lower class families.

For labor this bill is a huge win.  VP Biden included a one year extension of the unemployment insurance for more than two million Americans.  The UI helps those who are still struggling to find meaningful work, survive, while the economy is still recovering.

The big draw back to this agreement is that it does not solve the Debt Ceiling issue. As we all remember the House GOP held American’s hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and nearly shut the government down.  This also resulted in a downgrade of our national credit rating.  Early proposals of the Fiscal Cliff negotiations allowed the President to raise the Debt Ceiling without Congressional approval.

President Obama released this statement last night.

“There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it. But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans.  And as we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, I will continue to fight every day on behalf of the middle class and all those fighting to get into the middle class to forge an economy that grows from the middle out, not from the top down. “

This may not be all we wanted or what we have been fighting for, however we made some great advances.  We removed any Social Security cuts, and made positive changes to the Medicare program.

Now we all wait and see what the House does with the proposal.

Read the entire bill

UPDATED 1-2-13

Late in the night the US House passed the bill 257-167.  Only a handfull of Democrats opposed the bill however the Republicans opposed it.  Republicans voted 85 for to 151 against the bill, showing that only some were truly willing to do their jobs as elected leaders.  I applaud these 85 Republicans who help get this legislation through, including Lame Duck Congressman Charlie Bass.  Congressman Frank Guinta voted against it, showing that he is true to his “NO TAX” pledge and Tea Party politics.

See where your Congressional Reps voted.

Activists Demonstrate In Manchester and Concord: ‘Middle Class Over Millionaires’

The Action makes a final push for Congressmen Bass and Guinta to put aside partisan politics and do what is best for the middle class.

The Action, a joint project of Granite State Progress and the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action, demonstrated outside the Concord office of lame duck Rep. Charlie Bass and the Manchester office of lame duck Rep. Frank Guinta today to demand that the House get back to work to stop the country from going over the fiscal cliff and protect the middle class by maintaining the current tax rates for 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses.

“The House is returning to Washington in a couple of days and we’re asking Congressman Frank Guinta to do the right thing and vote for an extension of the middle-class cuts.  These tax cuts for 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners will allow New Hampshire taxpayers to keep $2000 that they can spend in our local economy and speed our recovery,” The Action press secretary Keith McCrea said outside Guinta’s office on Lowell St. in downtown Manchester. “After Speaker Boehner’s failure to secure the votes for his own caucus for his ‘Plan B,’ time is running short. Please, Congressman Guinta, vote to extend the middle-class tax cuts and urge your leader, Speaker John Boehner, to bring it to a vote.”

The House, including lame ducks Bass and Guinta,  spent last week on vacation while the Senate and Pres. Obama have returned to DC to try to find a solution to the on-going uncertainty created by the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ After the failure of Speaker Boehner’s ‘Plan B,’ the GOP leadership of the House has failed to offer any solutions while the Senate passed a bill over the summer to protect the middle-class. Speaker Boehner has refused to bring this bill to a vote.

With less than one week till the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline people are seriously beginning to worry about what this would mean to them.  A tax increase would mean thousands of dollars more being taken out in taxes from the middle class.  This after nearly four years of belt-tightening budgeting and high unemployment.  Now as the economy is sluggishly moving into recovery, middle class families will be whacked with a new increase and be forced to make more personal budget cuts.

As if a tax increase on the middle class was not enough, workers have been paying the price for years now.  Healthcare costs are rising, profits are soaring, and yet wages are stagnent.  Add a new $2000 or more tax middle class families are again losing money over last year.

We need our elected officials to stand up and do what is right for the middle class.  

(video from Patch.com)

ABOUT THE ACTION: The Action NH is a joint project of NH Citizens Alliance for Action and Granite State Progress, and part of a national grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%—those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.

The Action has demonstrated from Pittsburg, at a town hall for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, to Nashua where they delivered over 400 petition signatures to Congressman Charlie Bass’s office urging him to vote for middle-class tax relief. We’ve been joined by small business owners from florists to jewelers, by volunteers and students, and by elected leaders from across the state. Hundreds have joined the call and their actions have been covered by media outlets including WBIN tv, NHPR, the Concord Monitor, the Nashua Telegraph, NH Patch, and local radio stations throughout the state.

Sen Ayotte Get Flustered By Republican Constituent Who Wants To Raise Taxes

Long-Time Republican Constituent Schools Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Actual Impact of Tax Breaks for Wealthiest 2% during Pittsburg Town Hall

During Town Hall, U.S. Senator corrected by GOP tax accountant for misleading statements about impact of the Bush tax cuts for wealthiest 2%

Pittsburg, NH – In a Friday town hall meeting in Pittsburg, Senator Kelly Ayotte was corrected by a Republican constituent when she declared she wouldn’t end tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% because it will impact “small businesses.”

“There are a lot of people in here who in small business but I don’t think any of us in small businesses have a bottom line where we’re making over $250,000,” Wendall Woodard said. “It really won’t negatively affect these small businesses.”

Woodard, a tax accountant knew what he was talking about: according to several studies, the policy change would end the Bush-era tax cuts for businesses making over $250,000 a year and wouldn’t affect 97% of small businesses.

“The fact is that only between two and three percent of small businesses would see any increase at all and those businesses are making a profit of over $250,000 annually, “ said Taylor Coots, Lead Organizer for The Action NH/NHCA. “Sen. Ayotte seems eager to protect the wealthiest taxpayers – small business owners or not – at the expense of needed investments in things like education and infrastructure.”

Ayotte struggled to recover from the exchange; former state senator John Gallus ultimately tried to cover for Ayotte’s misstep.

ABOUT THE ACTION: The Action NH is a joint project of NH Citizens Alliance for Action and Granite State Progress, and part of a national grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%—those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.

Former VA. Congressman Tom Perriello talks about “austerity minefield”

Perriello was  joined by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute’s Jeff McLynch to discuss New Hampshire impacts 

Concord – Center for American Progress Action president Rep. Tom Perriello, a former member of both the Veterans’ Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, briefed reporters Thursday on the current state of the fiscal cliff discussions and the consequences for us if we fail to pass tax cuts for 98% of Americans and 97% of businesses and continue investments in infrastructure.

Speaking to reporters from his D.C.-area office, Perriello pointed out that what we currently face is less a fiscal cliff than an “austerity minefield” made up of “landmines” including the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, the end of unemployment benefits for many Americans, the payroll tax holiday, the so-called Medicare “doc fix” adjusting doctors Medicare reimbursements, the defense sequester, and the alternative minimum tax.

“These are only really together by happenstance. Some could be fixed by Congress individually either now or retroactively,” Perriello said. “Doing nothing means a return to the Clinton tax code as opposed to the current Bush code, which were not great for growth,” Perriello said.

McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute echoed Perriello’s remarks.

“New Hampshire is in better shape than much of the country, but our growth is still slow,” McLynch said. “The number of defense-related jobs that New Hampshire has also makes us vulnerable to the sequester in a way that other states might not.”

While Rep. Perriello remains optimistic about the chance for a solution, many in Washington view the refusal of Republican lawmakers to consider rate increases on the most affluent of taxpayers an obstacle. In New Hampshire, while Sen. Kelly Ayotte voted for a bill that would keep in place tax rates for middle-income families without protecting wealthier Americans, neither Congressmen Charlie Bass or Frank Guinta have been willing to sign on to the measure.


ABOUT THE ACTION: The Action is a grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%—those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.  New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action is leading the charge in New Hampshire.

THE ACTION, a Grassroots Organization Delivers Petitions To Congressman Bass

A grassroots organization called ‘THE ACTION’ is a movement by people who demanding an end to the Bush Era Tax Cuts to those making more that $250,000 dollars aka the 2%. Today they focused their actions on Congressman Charlie Bass.

Congressman Bass may have lost his re-election bid, but he is still representing us in Washington as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations begin. Today, activists delivered a petition urging Bass to support an up-or-down vote on continued tax relief for 98% of Americans and 97% of businesses and sang Christmas carols at the Nashua office of Rep. Charlie Bass in Nashua.

A ‘discharge petition’ is currently being circulated in the House of Representatives and would give the House a chance for an up-or-down vote on a $2,000 tax cut for 98% of Americans.  Voters across the state have signed a petition urging Rep. Bass – who has long advocated for low taxes and middle-class economic health – to demonstrate his support for both low taxes and the middle class by signing the discharge petition and voting in support of the Senate bill.

Pres. Obama has advocated starting the process of getting the nation’s budget house in order with this measure. “Let’s begin our work with where we agree,” the president said, observing that the Senate has already passed the bill and that both parties agree that increasing middle-class taxes would hobble the recovery.

“If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as the House sends it my way.”
(CNN.com “GOP divide over Obama tax plan goes public,”  Tom Cohen, November 28, 2012).

We need to bring more attention to the obstructionism that is currently occurring the US House.  We need a truly bi-partisan approach to solving this fiscal dilemma.  We all can agree that our country has a fiscal dilemma, the difference only seems to be how to resolve this dilemma.

Congressman Bass should listen to his constituents by voting to end the Bush Era Tax cuts to those people who are making over $250,000 dollars.

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