House tax bill would help East Bay residents

George Miller
A bill passed by the House of Representatives today that provides temporary relief from the alternative minimum tax through new taxes on hedgefund managers would benefit an estimated 200,325 East Bay taxpayers, according to statistics provided by the office of Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.

If approved by the Senate and signed by President Bush, an outcome far from certain given Republican opposition, the bill would stall for one year the imposition of the alternative minimum tax.

Estimates from Miller’s office show a dramatic increase in the estimated numbers of taxpayers in three East Bay congressional districts who would pay the AMT without a change in the tax law.

In Miller’s district, which includes portions of northern and western Contra Costa County, the number of people paying AMT would rise from 7,537 in 2005 to 58,558, a 677 percent increase. In Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s district next door, which includes most of Central Contra Costa County, the figure rises from 20,618 to 92,246, a 347 percent hike. And in Rep. Jerry McNerney’s district, which incompasses the San Ramon Valley and Eastern Contra Costa County, the number would jump from 24,208 taxpayers to 101,884, a four-hold increase.

With the economy struggling and a presidential campaign under way, a fight over the AMT has already fueled more partisan conflict in Congress.

House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement released today, called the bill the first step toward a $3.1 trillion tax increase and a “back-door way of permanently taxing entrepreneurs who create family-wage jobs. The Senate won’t support it, and the President won’t sign it. The Majority insisted on today’s exercise in futility instead of acting with urgency on a bipartisan solution to protect middle-class taxpayers.”

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, also sent out a statement on the tax today.

“This is a perfect example of the new Congress working in real-time for American families,” Tauscher said. “We were able to provide the right kind of tax relief that keeps money in the pockets of middle class Americans without further adding to the deficit.”

According to Tauscher’s office, without a change in the AMT law, taxpayers lose the ability to claim tax deductions for dependent children and for state and local taxes, and would pay on average $3,600 more in federal income taxes. Without the bill, she said, the AMT income threshold for 2007 would be joint filers earning $45,000 and single filers earning $35,750.

To read Boehner’s press release, click here.

To read Miller’s press release, click here.

To read Tauscher’s press release, click here.

Photo from Miller’s congressional web site at http://www.house.gov/georgemiller/bio.html

Lisa Vorderbrueggen