On Thursday, Sen. Ben Nelson told a Nebraska radio station that the tax increases in the Senate health care bill were “not acceptable,” especially given the economic climate. But this morning he announced his support for the revised bill, which includes even higher tax hikes than the earlier version he criticized.
Here was what Nelson had to say when asked about tax increases in the bill just two days ago (you can listen here, around the 9 minute mark):
“The problem with the legislation is, it is complex, and it is further complicated by tax increases as a means of funding extending coverage, to people who currently have it. There is no free ride here. If you’re going to extend coverage, obviously, there has to be some mechanism to raise the money. The way in which money is raised is not acceptable. If there isn’t a way to raise the money in tight times, I think you have to look at a scaled back version.”
Yet according to the Congressional Budget Office, the revised Reid bill not only maintains the major tax increases, but actually raises taxes by an additional $12 billion on a net basis, bringing the total to $498 billion.
Specifically, the revised bill stiffens the tax penalties for those who don’t purchase insurance, raising an additional $7 billion. It also raises the new Medicare tax on individuals making over $200,000 and families making over $250,000. The new additional tax on payrolls during a time of double-digit unemployment would now be 0.9%, instead of the 0.5% originally proposed by Reid. And instead of a 5 percent “botox tax,” there’s a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning.