Key Vote letter on S. 2230, the "Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012"
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, opposes S. 2230, the “Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012,” which would have a detrimental impact on jobs and economic growth. With more than eight million Americans unemployed, Congress should reject attempts to instigate a debate on class warfare and focus on real initiatives that can get the American economy further down the road to recovery.
Raising taxes on higher earning taxpayers would hurt business owners on whom our economy depends to create jobs. According to 2009 IRS data, this tax would affect more than one third of business income. 75 percent of taxpayers who make more than $1 million report business income.
The Paying a Fair Share Act is anything but fair. Taxpayers earning more than $1 million already pay a highly progressive share of income taxes. According to the IRS, in 2009, this income group accounted for 10 percent of all adjusted gross income but paid 20 percent of all income taxes. Further, this group paid a 25 percent effective tax rate on adjusted gross income, while those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 12 percent, and those earning under $100,000 paid less than 10 percent – in many cases, far less than 10 percent. More than 50 percent of households paid no federal income tax at all.
The Joint Committee on Taxation’s (JCT) estimate of the revenue that would be raised by this bill provides further proof that high income earners already pay their fair share of taxes. According to JCT, this legislation would raise $47 billion over 10 years – which is barely sufficient revenue to pay for a one year patch of the alternative minimum tax (AMT).
Rather than legislation, such as S. 2230, that smacks of political gimmickry, the Chamber urges the Senate to avoid the class warfare rhetoric and, instead, extend expiring and expired tax provisions and the 2001/2003 tax rates for all taxpayers while working towards comprehensive tax reform. The Chamber will consider including votes on, or in relation to, S. 2230 – including votes on the motion to proceed – in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten