Friday, February 17, 2012

Another Full Year of the 5.65% FICA Tax for Employees Seems Assured

Democratic and Republican negotiators appear to have worked out a deal to continue the 2% payroll tax cut for the rest of 2012. The deal drops the maximum jobless benefit span from 99 to 73 weeks and requires federal workers to pay an additional 1.5% of their pay into the federal pension plan. Republicans dropped their position of making the payroll tax cut revenue-neutral while Democrats scrapped plans to include a provision along the lines of the "Buffett" plan in the legislation. The legislation also continues extended unemployment beneifts (albeit for the shorter period mentioned above) and adds a provision postponing certain cuts in Medicare reimubursements to physicians.

The Republicans had allowed themselves to be placed in an awkward position on this legislation and probably felt that they escaped in the compromise with relatively little damage. The Democrats on the other hand get a campaign issue ("we saved the payroll tax cut") and weakened the Republican stand on revenue-neutrality for at least tax expenditures.


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