The Tax Consequences Of Health Care Reform

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 16, 2009

In New York, they will be onerous:

Congressional plans to fund a massive health-care overhaul could have a job-killing effect on New York, creating a tax rate of nearly 60 percent for the state’s top earners and possibly pressuring small-business owners to shed workers.

New York’s top income bracket could reach as high as 57 percent — rates not seen in three decades — to pay for the massive health coverage proposed by House Democrats this week.

The top rate in New York City, home to many of the state’s wealthiest people, would be 58.68 percent, the Washington-based Tax Foundation said in a report yesterday.

That means New York’s top earners, small-business owners and most dynamic entrepreneurs will be facing new fees and penalties.

The $544 billion tax hike would violate one of President Obama’s ironclad campaign promises: No family will pay higher tax rates than they would have paid in the 1990s.

Under the bill, three new tax brackets would be created for high earners, with a top rate of 45 percent for families making more than $1 million. That would be the highest income-tax rate since 1986, when the top rate was 50 percent.

The legislation is especially onerous for business owners, in part because it penalizes employers with a payroll bigger than $400,000 some 8 percent of wages if they don’t offer health care.

But the cost of the buy-in to the program may be so prohibitive that it will dissuade owners from growing their businesses — a scary prospect in the midst of a recession.

This post could have been titled “How To Turn A Blue State Red.”

Previous post:

Next post: