Make us your home page
Instagram

Just $31 billion from 'Buffett rule' tax on rich, analysis shows

WASHINGTON — A bill designed to enact President Barack Obama's plan for a "Buffett rule" tax on the wealthy would rake in just $31 billion over the next 11 years, according to an estimate by Congress' official tax analysts obtained by the Associated Press.

That figure would be a drop in the bucket of the over $7 trillion in federal budget deficits projected during that period. It is also minuscule compared to the many hundreds of billions it would cost to repeal the alternative minimum tax, which Obama's budget last month said he would replace with the Buffett rule tax.

The alternative minimum tax, originally aimed at ensuring that wealthy Americans pay taxes despite deductions and other breaks, has begun affecting upper-middle-class families. Congress acts every year to minimize its impact.

The Buffett rule has become a leading symbol of Obama's and congressional Democrats' election-year efforts to convince voters that they are the party championing economic fairness. Republicans have mocked it as one aimed at scoring political points that would have little real budgetary impact.

The plan is named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said taxes on the rich are too low. Obama has proposed requiring that people earning at least $1 million annually pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes, but has provided few details.

In an analysis provided to the AP on Tuesday, Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that a bill introduced last month by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., attempting to enshrine Obama's proposal into law would collect $31 billion through 2022. The measure has little chance of advancing soon, especially before the November elections.

Whitehouse's bill would require people making at least $2 million a year pay at least 30 percent of their earnings in taxes, though they could deduct certain amounts for their charitable contributions. The tax would be phased in for people earning at least $1 million annually.

"Now that we have this analysis, I hope the president will stop the class warfare and start leading by putting out real proposals to bring down our debt, get rid of the AMT and reform our broken tax code," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a written statement, using the alternative minimum tax's acronym.

Hatch's finance committee GOP aides requested the study.

Whitehouse said other groups, including the respected bipartisan Tax Policy Center, have estimated that the proposal could earn more than $31 billion.

"No matter how you slice it, that's real money that could help bring down our deficit. Most important: It's simply the right thing to do," he said in a statement.

Just $31 billion from 'Buffett rule' tax on rich, analysis shows 03/20/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 8:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall

    Autos

    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  2. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  3. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family

    Blogs

    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.
  4. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange

    Transportation

    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Target raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage for its workers to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020 in a move it says will help it better recruit and retain top-quality staff and provide a better shopping experience for its customers.

    Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage for its workers to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020
[File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]