Posts Tagged ‘payroll tax’

Nevada’s GOP House Reps Disappointed At Short-Term Deal On Payroll Tax Cut, Jobless Benefit Extension

By Sean Whaley | 7:55 pm December 22nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s two Republican House representatives today said politics won out over policy on the newly announced deal for a 60-day extension on a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said: “I will apologize in advance for what people are going to be going through 60 days from now because we have resolved nothing. And I predict the discussion 60 days from now will not only mirror this one, but you will also have a large revenue package which will be a condition to approving any sort of extensions for a year or two years.

“Nothing has changed, and it’s sad,” Amodei said. “We have done nobody any favors. As many commentators have said, you’re right on the policy but you’re wrong on the politics. Hopefully there will be a day when the policy rules the roost and not the politics but that’s probably a naive thing too.”

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said he was prepared to remain in Washington to reach a long-term solution to the extensions.

Courtesy of Kmccoy via Wikimedia Commons.

“The whole time my primary concern was making sure that we had a one-year extension for the folks back home,” he said. “That was the No. 1 priority. And it seems that in typical Washington fashion that politics trumped out over doing the right thing.

“I don’t think folks back home should suffer because Washington wants to get home for the holidays,” Heck said. “I made no secret about my desire to stay and get the job done. I’ve been away from my family; I’ve been deployed over the holidays; it’s not fun. But doing the right thing isn’t always fun or easy.”

Despite his disappointment at the short-term fix, Heck said Congress worked collaboratively in approving the Defense Authorization Act, and he has confidence in the House conferees appointed to work on a more permanent solution to the tax cut and unemployment benefit extension by a Feb. 29, 2012 deadline.

Heck said that if the Senate sends over members who are willing to look at the policy reforms approved by the House in its Dec. 13 bill, “that we will be able to come to a conclusion hopefully by the end of January.”

Both Amodei and Heck are now back in Nevada for a recess that will run through mid-January.

Amodei said he is still in the process of assessing the deal announced earlier today that will lead to the House endorsement of the Senate measure to extend the tax cut and unemployment benefits. Amodei said he plans to issue a formal statement tomorrow after he is confident about the details of the deal.

The House may be able to approve the Senate legislation by a process called unanimous consent, which will not require House members to return to Washington, DC, for a formal vote.

The deal means the continuation of both a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and a 99-week unemployment benefit for two million jobless Americans.

Other comments on the deal came from President Obama and other members of Nevada’s representatives in Congress.

President Obama issued a statement that said in part: “This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who supported the 60-day extension, said: “I am pleased the House is moving forward with the Senate’s bipartisan compromise. Extending the payroll tax and unemployment insurance will benefit Nevadans greatly. Now that Congress has moved beyond this impasse, we can work on a year-long extension.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said: “I am grateful that the voices of reason have prevailed and Speaker (John) Boehner has agreed to pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise.

“Year-long extensions of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare payments for physicians has always been our goal, and Democrats will not rest until we have passed them,” he said. “But there remain important differences between the parties on how to implement these policies, and it is critical that we protect middle-class families from a tax increase while we work them out.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. said: “While its good news this massive middle class tax hike has been averted, this is one more example of why Washington doesn’t work. This should have been a no-brainer, but instead Tea Party Republicans held Nevada’s middle class families hostage to their extreme Wall Street agenda. The middle class should not be a bargaining chip for DC political games.”


Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., says the deal resolves nothing:

122211Amodei1 :32 or two years.”

Amodei says he believes a large revenue package will be part of the next round of discussions:

122211Amodei2 :27 naive thing too.”

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., says his goal all along was a one-year deal:

122211Heck1 :15 the right thing.”

Heck says Congress should have got the job done:

122211Heck2 :14 fun or easy.”

Heck says he is hopeful the conference committee will reach a deal by the end of January:

122211Heck3 :32 month of March.”


Rep. Mark Amodei Says House Republicans Will Reject Short-Term Senate Payroll Tax, Jobless Benefit Fix

By Sean Whaley | 9:09 pm December 19th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today that Republicans in the House do not believe a 60-day stopgap response to expiring tax breaks and unemployment benefits as approved by the Senate is a workable solution.

Amodei, in a telephone interview this evening with the Nevada News Bureau, said the temporary fix is unworkable for the business community and creates too much uncertainty that could threaten job creation efforts. Congress needs to approve legislation resolving these issues for a full year, he said.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

As a result of the concerns, Republicans in the House are going to reject the Senate version of a compromise bill approved Saturday to extend jobless benefits and ensure a payroll tax break continues for 160 million working Americans, Amodei said.

The House passed a bill addressing the issues earlier this month that would resolve the issues for a full year.

“Why would you put people through this again 60 days later?” he asked.

The result will be to send the two different versions of the payroll tax and unemployment benefit fix to a conference committee to resolve differences, Amodei said. Whether the Senate returns to the Capitol to work on a compromise bill remains to be seen, he said.

If a compromise is not reached by the end of the year, working Americans will see a payroll tax hike, and five million unemployed workers will face a loss of jobless benefits starting Jan. 1.

Amodei, elected in September to fill out the term of now-U.S. Sen. Dean Heller in Congressional District 2, arrived home Saturday only to turn around and fly back to Washington, DC, on Sunday, to take up the issues. Amodei has not yet served 100 days in office.

The Senate, after voting to amend the House bill to deal with the issues for two months, has adjourned.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the Senate won’t negotiate further until the House passes the 60-day extension.

In a statement, Reid said: “Speaker (John) Boehner should allow an up-or-down vote on the compromise that Senator McConnell and I negotiated at Speaker Boehner’s request, and which was supported by 89 Republican and Democratic senators.

“With millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, it would be unconscionable for Speaker Boehner to block a bipartisan agreement that would protect middle-class families from the thousand-dollar tax increase looming on January first,” he said. “It is time for Speaker Boehner to follow through.”

But Amodei said House Republicans want to follow the proper procedure to iron out differences in the conflicting versions of the legislation. That means a conference committee, he said.

“By the way, yes, it does happen to be December, but . . . the issues are important enough, you need to work on them until you get it worked out,” Amodei said. “And by the way, you haven’t got a heck of a lot of time, and yes, there is Christmas and New Years in there, but so be it.”

Amodei said the House is expected to vote to take the Senate version of the bill to the rules committee for its review. The full House will then vote Tuesday to appoint its representatives to a conference committee.

“This is going to be an interesting thing to see whether or not policy prevails or politics prevails,” he said.

There are other concerns with the Senate version of the bill as well, including the proposal to charge a fee on Federal Housing Authority loans to help pay for the expense of the extended benefits and tax cuts, which would be a particularly hard hit on Nevada’s real estate industry, Amodei said.

The House bill also set the number of weeks of federal unemployment to 57, and allowed for means testing for unemployment and food stamps for the wealthy as a state option, he said. It also put in a pay freeze on federal employees and members of Congress to help pay for it, another provision that did not survive in the Senate version.

“Another two-month extension is another exercise in, can you hold your breath for another two months if you are a senior, if you are a veteran, if you’re an employer, if you work for wages or if you are on unemployment,” Amodei said. “I mean, I just think it is absolutely tone deaf to the reality of people looking for work, people who are working, seniors, veterans, home buyers. I mean, it’s like how can you talk about this with a straight face.

“The Senate’s amendment was amending the bill in whole, and basically kept everything the same except made it 60 days, and you’re like, what is the magic in 60 days?”

Nevada’s Republican representatives in Congress are not in complete agreement on how to proceed. Heller, R-Nev., voted for the two-month extension in the Senate.

“There is no question we need to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the entire year,” he said. “The American people deserve long-term, forward-thinking policies. However, there is no reason to hold up the short-term extension while a more comprehensive deal is being worked out.

“What is playing out in Washington, DC, this week is about political leverage, not about what’s good for the American people,” Heller said.


Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says the Senate needs to work with the House to resolve the issues:

121911Amodei1 :15 so be it.”

Amodei says another two-month extension does not deal with the realities being faced by Americans:

121911Amodei2 :26 a straight face.”

Amodei asks what is the magic in 60 days:

121911Amodei3 :11 in 60 days.”



State Senate Republican Offers Bill To Exempt New Employees from Modified Business Tax

By Sean Whaley | 6:41 pm March 1st, 2011

CARSON CITY – A Republican state senator has proposed his own idea for job creation: A break on the modified business tax for new employees hired by employers after July 1, 2011.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said Senate Bill 199 would exempt new employees hired by Nevada businesses from the tax as an incentive to add workers to their payrolls. Co-sponsors include five other Republican lawmakers. The measure was introduced Monday.

“The concept is based on the payroll tax, which unfortunately unfairly burdens employers based on how many employees they have,” he said. “Only if it is a brand new additional employee – above and beyond what you currently have – the new employee will not have the payroll tax charged upon them for one year.”

Settelmeyer’s jobs proposal comes as Democratic leaders in both the Assembly and Senate are touting their own job creation initiatives, including a plan to use some existing revenues to bond to build public works projects, and another to create a bidder’s preference on such projects for companies that hire Nevada workers.

SB199 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee but no hearing has been scheduled yet.

Settelmeyer’s bill would require employers to demonstrate that any employees hired under the tax exemption are new additions to a firm’s current workforce, but there would be no limit to the number of new hires that could be included in the exemption. The exemption would be available to existing businesses only.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the organization typically opposes tax exemptions or abatements but believes Settelmeyer’s proposal is a positive job-creating measure.

“We do see this as a private sector jobs creation bill,” he said. “Anytime you can stimulate private sector hiring without relying on public sector dollars, that is a good thing.”

Nevada’s nearly 15 percent unemployment rate does not appear as if it will decline anytime soon, and the tax incentive in SB199 could assist in reversing that trend, Wachter said.

Randi Thompson, the local representative for the National Federation of Independent Business, said the bill is a good start to getting Nevadans back to work.

“Anything that would encourage hiring is a good thing,” she said.

Thompson said she remains concerned, however, about the Legislature’s intentions as to the current rates of the modified business tax.

Nevada’s modified business tax is based on an employer’s gross payroll, after deductions for health insurance benefits paid by the employer. The 2009 Legislature increased the tax rate from 0.63 percent to 1.17 percent for large businesses as a way to balance the current budget.

At the same time, it reduced the rate to 0.5 percent for small businesses. Both changes will expire on July 1, 2011, unless the Legislature takes action.

Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to let the increase for large businesses expire, but he wants to continue the lower rate for small businesses for the upcoming two-year budget.

Settelmeyer said he has been told by small businesses that the exemption could make the difference between hiring a new worker and waiting. Larger casino operators have made similar comments, he said.

Audio clips:

Sen. James Settelmeyer says the payroll tax burdens employers based on the number of employees:

030111Settelmeyer1 :08 employees they have.”

Settelmeyer says only new employees would be eligible for the exemption:

030111Settelmeyer2 :08 for one year.”