President Obama keeps rolling out the tax hikes. In his budget released earlier this month, excluding the tax hikes he assumed to pay for health care, he called for $1.3 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade. Now in his recently released health reform plan, he calls for even more tax increases. Today, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released their analysis of the tax increases in the President’s plan. According to the JCT, the plan will raise taxes by another $414 billion between 2010 and 2019. The taxes the President Obama proposed hiking are as follows (the year the tax kicks in and the amount the tax will raise between 2010 and 2019 are in parentheses):
- Require information reporting on payments to corporations (2011 – $17.1 billion)
- Exclusion of unprocessed fuels from the cellulosic biofuel produce credit (immediately upon passage – $23.9 billion)
- Codify economic substance doctrine and impose penalties for underpayments (immediately upon passage – $4.9 billion)
- Increase Hospital Insurance portion of the payroll tax and apply it to investment income for families earning more than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for single filers) (2012 – $183.6)
- Excise tax on “Cadillac” insurance plans valued at more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families (2018 – $32.7 billion)*
- Impose annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs (2011 – $33.4 billion)*
- Impose excise tax on manufacturers and importers of medical devices (2012 – $20 billion)*
- Impose annual fee on health insurance companies (2014 – $59.5 billion)*
- Excise tax on indoor tanning services (2010 – $2.7 billion)*
- Limit Health Savings Accounts (HSA) (2011 – $5.0 billion)*
- Increase taxes on unqualified distributions from HSAs (2011 – $1.4 billion)*
- Limit Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) (2014 – $11.4 billion)*
- Eliminate deduction of expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy (2012 – $2.6 billion)*
- Limit deductions for medical expenses (2013 – $15.2 billion)*
- Higher taxes on compensation above $500,000 paid to officers, employees, directors and service providers of covered health insurance providers (2013 – $0.6 billion)
- Higher taxes on certain health organizations (2010 – $0.4 billion)*
The taxes with the (*) will directly apply, or will be passed on to, families earning less than $250,000 a year. This is a contradiction of President Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on these families.
Almost all of these taxes came out of the separate bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The only new tax the President proposed is applying the Hospital Insurance (HI) portion of the payroll tax to investment income for the first time. This would be a dangerous break with past precedent and would slow economic growth at the worst time.
The President’s plan assumes raising $24 billion by excluding paper companies from taking the celluslosic biofuel producer credit. This credit was only supposed to apply to producers of biofuels, but a technicality in the law allowed paper companies to qualify. The Senate already laid claim to this exclusion in their recently passed “jobs” bill. It that becomes law, policy and germaneness aside, the President will have to conjure up some more new taxes or spending cuts to pay for his new plan.
The hefty tax increases are a heavy blow to a struggling economy, but they do not come close to covering the full cost of the President’s plan which will cost more than $1 trillion over ten years. The President has repeatedly insisted that his plan will not increase the deficit. If that is so, he needs to explain how he will fill the $600 billion shortfall. The gap could mean even more tax increases are on the way. Unfortunately, such calls are now commonplace for the President.