Americans for Tax Reform is supportive of H.R. 3630, the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Jobs Creation Act of 2012." The bill extends a payroll tax rebate for workers, begins to reign in excess unemployment payments, repeals some funding for Obamacare, starts the process of leveling the playing field between private sector workers and federal bureaucrats, and releases more spectrum for the next generation of mobile broadband.
Extends payroll tax relief. H.R. 3630 extends the 2 percentage point payroll tax rebate for the remainder of 2012. The worker "share" of the Social Security payroll tax will remain at 4.2 percent, instead of rising to 6.2 percent. Since the year is already begun, this was the only policy that made any sense. For 2013 and beyond, ATR supports transitioning this relief into an opt-out along the lines of H.R. 3551, the SSPICE Act.
Reins in unemployment overpayments. Progressively over the past several years, the unemployment program has grown from a 26-week initiative to one which can last as long as 99 weeks. At nearly two full years, these payments stop becoming a transition to a new job and start becoming a way of life. H.R. 3630 begins the process of unwinding these expansions, capping the maximum unemployment duration at 73 weeks, with a national average duration of 63 weeks.
Reduces Obamacare funding. One of the good spending cuts in H.R. 3630 is a $5 billion cut in an Obamacare slush fund supposedly related to public health. This is another victory in the goal of repealing the jobs-killing Obamacare law.
Fairness for federal workers. Federal employees have a compensation package far greater than their private sector counterparts, compounded by the difficulty in firing bad apples. It's only fair that the playing field get leveled. A good first step has been the pay freeze Congress has enacted. H.R. 3630 goes a step further by requiring federal bureaucrats to pay more of their own money into their defined benefit pension plan. Since federal workers benefit from both a generous defined contribution pension (TSP) and a defined benefit pension, this is only a small step toward equity with private sector workers.
Unleashes Spectrum for Mobile Broadband. The bill establishes a framework for broadcasters to voluntarily auction their spectrum to wireless carriers. Importantly, the bill provides a modest provision to ensure the FCC does not prevent some companies from bidding in the auction in the name of micromanaging outcomes.