House Democrats are planning to use President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan to benefit labor unions.
The Washington Times reported Wednesday that tucked deep inside “the 881-page tax proposal” that the House Ways and Means Committee is currently hashing out is a tax deduction for union dues.
As currently written, under Section 138514, the proposal “would allow members of a labor organization to deduct $250 in union dues on their taxes” every year starting in 2022.
This is an “above the line” deduction, meaning taxpayers can take the deduction whether they itemize their taxes or not. Ultimately, this type of deduction is valuable to taxpayers because it can reduce their adjusted gross income on their returns, thus reducing their tax burden “in a substantial and meaningful way,” as The Street explained.
The proposal comes from a bill that Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania introduced in April and is a direct reversal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that then-President Donald Trump signed into law in December 2017.
If passed, “the new union dues tax break would reduce federal revenue by $4.2 billion over 10 years,” according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research and educational organization.
The Washington Times reported that Republicans are criticizing the inclusion of the labor provision, arguing that it “amounts to an improper political payoff.”
Other critics include Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee, who told The Washington Times that the tax deduction of union dues amounts to a “blatant handout to one of the Democrats’ biggest political backers, big labor.”
Mourad also decried the move as “nakedly political” because it only applies to union members.
Alan D. Viard of the American Enterprise Institute agreed with Mourad’s assessment.
He explained that the deduction as currently written “would cause a stark inequity in workplaces” where the union and the employer have what’s called an agency-shop agreement.
Under this agreement, an employer may hire both union and non-union workers, but employees can’t be forced to join the union in order to keep their jobs.
Viard further explained that non-union workers are still required to pay “agency fees to the union to cover its costs in representing them.”
Under the “new” proposal, the inequity arises because non-union workers “would not be allowed to deduct their fee payments, even though the fees are just as work-related as the dues paid by employees who join the union.”
Isabelle Morales at Americans for Tax Reform wrote that the Democrats have a motivation behind their union dues tax reduction proposal.
“The Left is artificially trying to buttress union membership and fill their political war chests, as union political giving almost entirely flows to Democrats,” she argued.
In its most recent report, published in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 10.8 percent of all wage and salary workers in the U.S. were members of unions in 2020.
But those numbers indicate a sharp decline over the past 40 years. Union membership was almost double in 1983 with a national enrollment of 20.1 percent.
Despite the decline, Biden sought to ally himself with organized labor during his 2020 presidential run.
And on Sept. 8, he met with union leaders at the White House, touting his $3.5-trillion infrastructure plan, The Washington Times reported.
“In my White House, you’ll always be welcome,” Biden said to the 60 guests attending the event, according to an official White House transcript of his remarks. “You’ll always be welcome. Labor will always be welcome.”
“You know, you’ve heard me say many times: I intend to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history.”
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