This evening, Representative Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06) voted to force a $1,000 payroll tax hike on 3.2 million middle income Maryland families and raise Medicare premiums for seniors instead of ending tax breaks for billionaires. While voting for higher Medicare premiums for seniors in retirement, Bartlett even voted against cutting his own Congressional retirement pension.
Bartlett had previously voted three times to let these payroll taxes go up by $1,000 while letting House Republicans leave Washington for their holiday vacation.
“Representative Roscoe Bartlett is forcing a $1,000 middle income tax increase on 3.2 million Maryland families and higher Medicare premiums for seniors in order to protect tax breaks for billionaires,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Bartlett even opposed savings from his own Congressional pension while voting to raise taxes on middle income Maryland families and raise Medicare premiums for seniors. Roscoe Bartlett’s priorities shined through today — higher taxes for the middle class and health care costs for seniors while the ultra wealthy get more tax breaks.”
This afternoon, the Associated Press reported that Bartlett’s vote would mean “Millions who don’t consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more” in Medicare premiums.
Bartlett voted to raise Medicare premiums for seniors. The Associated Press reported that, “Raising taxes on millionaires may be a non-starter for Republicans, but they seem to have no problem hiking Medicare premiums for retirees making a lot less. The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a year-end economic package that includes a provision raising premiums for “high-income” Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families. Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don’t consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.” [HR 3630, Vote #923, 12/13/11; Associated Press, 12/13/11]
Bartlett voted to protect his own congressional pension. Representative Roscoe Bartlett voted against a measure that cuts back on pensions for Members of Congress. The measure would block pending pension increases and increase Member of Congress’s share of their own pension by 1.5%. [HR 3630, Vote #922, 12/13/11]
Representative Roscoe Bartlett voted 3 times against guaranteeing extending payroll tax relief. House Republicans, including Bartlett, voted to bypass consideration of guaranteeing the extension of the payroll tax holiday beyond 2011. Without extension, payroll tax relief will expire at the end of the year. [H Res 487, Vote #902, 12/8/11; H Res 479, Vote #889, 12/6/11; H Res 477,Vote #870, 11/30/11]
Tax increase for 3.2 Million Maryland families. In Maryland, failing to pass the payroll tax cut would mean 3.2 million families would face an average of $1,000 tax increase. In 2010, a two percent payroll tax cut was signed into law, providing an estimated $108.6 billion in tax relief to roughly 159 million workers. If Congress fails to extend this tax break, it will cost the typical American working family $1,000 per year. [Office of Tax Policy – Treasury Department, 11/30/11]
Trigger another recession. According to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and former advisor to John McCain’s 2008 campaign for President, failing to extend a payroll tax break into 2012 could trigger another recession. [Moody’s Analytics, 9/9/11; Reuters, 10/6/11]
Cost Nearly 1 Million Jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “The loss of the payroll tax holiday, a tax cut that reduces Social Security payroll tax for all workers, would lead to a reduction in GDP of $128 billion and roughly 972,000 fewer jobs in 2012.” [Economic Policy Institute, 8/5/11]
More effective than tax breaks for the rich. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it is more cost effective to promote economic growth and increase employment through reducing employees’ payroll taxes than policies that more greatly benefit those with relatively high incomes, such as the Bush tax cuts and an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch. The CBO estimated that reducing employees’ payroll taxes would raise GDP by $0.30 to $0.90 between 2010 and 2015 per every dollar spent, but a two-year AMT patch and one-year deferral of Bush tax cuts would only raise output by $0.10 to $0.40 for every dollar spent. [Congressional Budget Office, 1/10]