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Analysis: Democrat-Controlled House Passed At Least $1.171 Trillion in Net Tax Increases in 2009

December 28, 2009

Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) today released an analysis of major tax provisions passed by the Democrat-controlled House showing a net tax increase on American families and employers of at least $1.171 trillion over the next decade.  The table below provides a list of the tax bills, gross increase and decrease in taxes through 2019, the net total of job-killing tax hikes and whether or not the bill was simply passed by the Democrat-controlled House or also enacted into law. 

“The tax and deficit-spending ways of the Democrat-controlled House is wreaking havoc on our economy and on families,” said Camp.  “While Americans are asking where are the jobs, all they have been shown is higher taxes that can’t even keep pace with the Majority’s deficit-bloating spending habits.  Americans, especially our employers, are already paying higher tax rates than virtually any other country and the current agenda in Washington, DC is only worsening the situation.  As we head into a new year, it is my sincere hope that we can find a new path.  We simply cannot tax and deficit-spend our way back to prosperity.”

Camp went on to note that the analysis significantly understates the size of the Majority’s net tax increases because it relies on revenue estimates provided by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which measure the revenue effects of tax legislation as compared to a “current-law” baseline.  Republicans believe this current-law baseline is a deeply flawed basis for measuring the Majority’s record on taxes because it assumes that critical low-tax policies enacted in 2001 and 2003 will expire in 2010 and that Congress will fail to provide a “patch” for the alternative minimum tax beyond 2009.  Thus, the use of this current-law baseline by Congressional scorekeepers creates bizarre distortions in the accounting of the Majority’s tax agenda by crediting simple extensions of expiring tax relief as gross tax reductions, when, in fact, they would merely prevent tax increases from taking effect.  Indeed, more than 42% of the total gross tax reductions ($233 billion out of $553 billion) credited to the Majority by JCT and CBO is attributable to a bill (H.R. 4154) that would merely continue the estate tax parameters that are currently in effect (and that would actually cancel the repeal of the estate tax that is scheduled to take effect next year).  If JCT were to score this bill using a more realistic “current-policy” baseline – instead of the flawed current-law baseline it uses now – H.R. 4154 would have been estimated to provide no gross tax relief (if measured against 2009 law) or actually to provide a substantial tax increase (if measured against 2010 law).  Thus, under that more realistic current-policy baseline, which President Obama implicitly embraced in his budget, the Majority’s record would be far worse.  But even using rules that have the effect of artificially inflating the  Majority’s gross tax reductions, their record  on taxes in 2009 is clear – AT LEAST $1.171 TRILLION IN NET TAX INCREASES 

Additionally, this analysis finds that House Democrats have passed at least 10 specific tax hikes – on matters ranging from health care to energy, from cigarettes to savings – that clearly violate President Obama’s pledge to avoid tax increases on Americans earning less than $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for joint returns.  These particular tax increases – marked with an asterisk (*) in the table – would fall not just on the wealthy, but also on low- and middle-income families that are struggling to make ends meet during this time of double-digit unemployment.

Analysis of Major House-Passed Tax Bills in 2009
At Least $1.171 Trillion in Net Tax Increases; President’s Tax Pledge Ignored 10 Times