Some rough politics are on the horizon as Congress tries to divert the U.S. economy’s path away from the 2013 fiscal cliff. A small but not unimportant element in this effort is the passage of a tax extenders bill covering WOTC, empowerment zones and renewal communities, the research and development credit, and others similar tax incentives.
This morning, our friend, Paul Suplizio (President of the WOTC Coalition) offered some constructive feedback and advice to businesses and lobbyists who favor passage of tax extenders. His comments come in the wake of President Obama’s recent press conference.
The following correspondence is published here with permission.
From: Paul Suplizio
Thursday, November 15, 2012 4:13 AM
Subject: Obama Demands Passage Of Tax Bill First
November 15, 2012
President Obama argued forcefully at his press conference yesterday to pass the tax bill first, as part of a “fiscal cliff” deal, and deal with spending issues later.
Claiming the election yielded a mandate for middle class tax relief and higher rates for the wealthy, the President insisted on ending the Bush tax rates “for people who don’t need them.”
Clearly, your Coalition wants any tax bill that emerges to carry an extension of WOTC and other tax extenders along lines of S.3521, the bi-partisan Baucus/Hatch “Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act.” We are getting a favorable reception from Senator Reid, Senator Baucus, and other Senate and House Democrats for adding S.3521 to whatever tax bill or bills start moving.
Treasury is pushing hard for settling the question of tax rates and benefits before December 31st so IRS and taxpayers won’t be in the dark when filing their 2012 returns. The IRS Commissioner has written Congress again urging prompt action, saying more than 60 million taxpayers—about half of all filers—will be affected if Congress fails to act.
We should be pressing Republican senators and congressmen to make sure WOTC extension is included in any bill to extend the Bush tax cuts. Our approach should be sensitive to the fact that both Republican leaders—Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell—are opposed to raising tax rates on the wealthy and will be making that case when they meet with the President tomorrow. This issue takes precedence for Republicans, WOTC and the tax extenders aren’t on their front burner right now.
Still, we have to use the lobbying time available, and it’s precious little. To Republicans in the Senate and House, we can still be pressing our message, “A million jobs are at stake in WOTC extension, we need your help to make sure WOTC won’t be forgotten in any deal on the Bush tax cuts, or in any bill brought by the Ways and Means Committee.”
A transcript of the President’s press conference is available at www.whitehouse.gov, click on “Briefing Room” and then “Speeches & Remarks.”
Here’s the nub of his message:
“And so the most important step we can take right now is if we right away say 98 percent of Americans are not going to see their taxes go up; 97 percent of small businesses are not going to see their taxes go up. If we get that in place, we are actually removing half of the fiscal cliff. Half of the danger to our economy is removed by that single step. And what we can then do is shape a process by which we look at tax reform—which I’m very eager to do. I think we can simplify our tax system. I think we can make it more efficient. We can eliminate loopholes and deductions which have a distorting effect on our economy. . . .
“Can we all step back and say, here’s something we can agree on—we don’t want middle class taxes to go up? Let’s go ahead and lock that in. That will be good for the economy. It will be good for consumers. It will be good for business. It takes the edge off the fiscal cliff. And lets also then commit ourselves to the broader package of deficit reduction that includes entitlement changes and it includes potentially tax reform . . .”
PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition