Contact: Sean Magers
Owens Supports Payroll Tax Cut
Watertown Daily Times
Dec 1, 2011 -
WASHINGTON - Rep. William L. Owens said Wednesday he supports extending or even expanding a payroll tax cut - depending how Congress pays for it.
Mr. Owens. D-Plattsburgh, said he would not support paying for the extension with new fees on airline tickets, for example, as he said he has heard some Republican leaders are considering.
But he said he could accept a version from Senate Democrats that raises taxes on people making a million dollars or more a year.
In effect, Mr. Owens said, a fee on airline tickets would be a tax increase on the middle class, "and I would not be in favor of that."
The extension of the payroll tax cut has taken center stage on Capitol Hill this week as leaders in both parties say they want to accomplish that but have diverging ideas about how to do so. Raising taxes on millionaires is a nonstarter with Republicans, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he believes an extension will ultimately pass because it has bipartisan support. He has not been specific about how he would pay for the extension; some GOP lawmakers either oppose the extension or don't believe tax cuts should be paid for at all.
Mr. McConnell has said he does not, however, support expanding the cut.
Allowing the tax cut to expire would cost the average household around $1,500 next year, lawmakers say. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Jefferson County taxpayers could have to pay an additional $1,300 next year if the tax cut isn't extended or expanded.
Some economists say the price could be another recession.
Lawmakers are considering expanding the tax cut so that families receive a bigger break and so companies do not have to contribute as much on their share of the payroll tax. An expansion sounds like a good idea as well, Mr. Owens said, as long as Congress can find a way to pay for it and avoid raising the deficit.
Although Mr. Schumer on Tuesday cast the debate in partisan terms in a news conference call, he said Wednesday that lawmakers are crafting a solution that can win bipartisan support.
"We're not trying to draw a line in the sand," Mr. Schumer said. "We're gathering strong support on both sides of the aisle... so I'm optimistic we will get this done."
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