Thursday, July 16, 2009



Last updated: 8:59 am
July 16, 2009
Posted: 2:36 am
July 16, 2009

Congressional plans to fund a massive health-care overhaul could have a job-killing effect on New York, creating a tax rate of nearly 60 percent for the state's top earners and possibly pressuring small-business owners to shed workers.

New York's top income bracket could reach as high as 57 percent -- rates not seen in three decades -- to pay for the massive health coverage proposed by House Democrats this week.

The top rate in New York City, home to many of the state's wealthiest people, would be 58.68 percent, the Washington-based Tax Foundation said in a report yesterday.

That means New York's top earners, small-business owners and most dynamic entrepreneurs will be facing new fees and penalties.

The $544 billion tax hike would violate one of President Obama's ironclad campaign promises: No family will pay higher tax rates than they would have paid in the 1990s.

Under the bill, three new tax brackets would be created for high earners, with a top rate of 45 percent for families making more than $1 million. That would be the highest income-tax rate since 1986, when the top rate was 50 percent.

The legislation is especially onerous for business owners, in part because it penalizes employers with a payroll bigger than $400,000 some 8 percent of wages if they don't offer health care.

But the cost of the buy-in to the program may be so prohibitive that it will dissuade owners from growing their businesses -- a scary prospect in the midst of a recession.

Obama took to the airwaves yesterday with ads and TV interviews promoting the need to reform health care.

As a Senate health committee passed a different version of a health-care reform bill - a milestone for the issue - Obama said on NBC, "The American people have to realize that there's no such thing as a free lunch."

And in a Rose Garden speech, he said the "status quo" on health care is "threatening the financial stability of families, of businesses, and of government. It's unsustainable, and it has to change."

Asked if Obama supports the surtax on wealthiest Americans even though it would break a campaign pledge, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said only, "It's a process that we're watching."

Republicans in Washington and small-business defenders in New York said the House legislation would effectively place a stranglehold on businesses while running off top earners.

"Placing a big tax burden on the small-business community would rob them of the resources they need to create the jobs that will lead us out of the recession," said Tom Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce.

"If there's one sure way to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, this is it."

Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist for small stores and businesses in New York City, warned that "in the middle of a recession, it's a very strange way to legislate."

"According to what we've read, the House health-insurance plan would have a job-crippling impact on neighborhood stores and other small businesses because they put mandates on these businesses that would prevent them from hiring people because of the cost of the plan," Lipsky said.

Under the House plan, businesses with payrolls of $400,000 or more would pay an 8 percent penalty for uninsured workers, while companies with payrolls between $250,000 and $400,000 would pay slightly smaller penalties.

Adding to this burden, said Michael Moran of the State Business Council of New York, is that New York is already a high-tax state.

"Any additional taxes make New York even less competitive," he said.

New York would become the third-most-hostile place for top earners to live under the proposed new surtaxes supported by House Democrats and championed by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Also hit would be individuals earning $280,000 annually and families making $350,000 a year.

The profits from small businesses would also be taxed on the back end.

Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, an umbrella organization representing the city's major businesses, said that the estimated top marginal tax rate of 57 percent for New York actually underestimates the potential impact on businesses.

That's because it doesn't include the city's burdensome unincorporated-business tax, which snares many entrepreneurs.

"It could be between 62 and 63 percent," she said.

If the House plan passes, Wylde said, "There literally, at this point, is very strong reason to relocate your family and your business outside New York."

A lot of small businesses would be hit with the penalties for not insuring workers and get hit with the surtaxes, Moran warned.

"Many small businesses file their business taxes under personal income," he said. "That's the way the tax law is written. Small business, which is really where most of the job creation takes place, could be hit hard.

According to the city's Department for Small Business Services, there are some 220,000 small businesses in the five boroughs. The agency does not keep track of how many offer health insurance.

"It's something that's going to kill jobs. That's the result," said Stephanie Cathcart, spokeswoman for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Among the most egregious provisions of the House proposal, she said, is a requirement that businesses pay the cost of 72.4 percent of individual health plans and 65 percent of family plans.

Those that don't hit the mark would face the payroll tax penalty

Keep in mind, this doesn't include all the other new taxes and increased cost connected to the cap and trade bill.

Arn't they all hate crimes?

Posted by Bobby Eberle
July 16, 2009 at 6:57 am

As the Senate debates the final provisions of a $680 billion defense bill, Democrats are trying to poison the water by adding a hate crimes bill to the package. It's quite obvious that hate crimes legislation and a defense authorization bill have nothing in common and should not be voted on together.

In addition, where is it written that one group, one gender, one class of people are more special and worthy of more protection than another group? Only in left-wing America. Equal protection under the law? Not any more.

The federal hate crimes bill which is sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) has been attached as an amendment by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to the defense appropriations bill. As noted in The Boston Globe, "Most Republicans oppose the legislation, saying it infringes on states' rights or could lead to the criminalization of religious expressions of opposition to homosexuality."

Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has called for a vote, requiring 60 supporters, to move forward on the hate crimes measure. That vote could come as early as today, but timing for a final vote on the amendment was uncertain.

Current hate crimes law applies to acts of violence motivated by prejudice against a person's race, color, national origin, or religion. That would expand under the legislation to include crimes targeting people because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Sen. John McCain spoke out against the move on Wednesday, saying, "Those of us who oppose this legislation -- and it is important legislation -- will be faced with a dilemma of choosing between a bill which can harm, in my view, the United States of America and its judicial system and a bill defending the nation. I don't think that's fair to any member of this body."

One of the main controversies (outside of the fact that the entire premise of "hate" crimes is wrong) is that the new legislation would cover sexual orientation. Religious groups, which teach that homosexuality is wrong, are obviously concerned on what this bill would do to their ability to promote their teachings.

According to a story in the Associated Press:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other supporters also stressed that religious leaders or others who voice objections to homosexuality could not be held liable. The bill "does not criminalize speech or hateful thoughts," he said. "It seeks only to punish action, violent action, that undermines the core values of our nation."

So, what happens if some nut-job sits in a church sermon and then goes out and kills someone based on what he heard in church? Without ANY form of hate crimes legislation, that person would be tried for murder. But now, since those on the left feel that a murder charge doesn't send the right message, the criminal would be charged with a hate crime. But then the guy states that he did it because of what he learned in church.... that he was following God's will. Now what?

The bill is bad, and it has no place being attached to the defense bill. If you'd like to contact your senators, just use the link below. No one deserves special treatment or favored treatment. This is America where we should all be treated equally.