Apple, Microsoft, others: Tax increases should be extended only with ‘structural reforms’ to state budgets

“Millionaires can breathe a bit easier. While President Barack Obama says he wants to let income tax cuts that benefit only the wealthiest Americans expire in 2013, several states are rolling back tax increases for top earners,” Steven Sloan reports for Businessweek.

“New York’s highest tax rate on incomes exceeding $500,000 will fall back to 7.85 percent, from 8.97 percent, this year. Maryland’s 6.25 percent tax on incomes above $1 million expired at the end of 2010, while California’s top tax rate for millionaires has dropped to 10.3 percent from 10.55 percent,” Sloan reports. “The soak-the-rich drive ‘just petered out,”‘ says Joseph Henchman, vice-president for legal and state projects at the Tax Foundation in Washington, a group focused on lowering taxes. ‘All of these states are backing away now.'”

“Business groups have been vocal opponents of the temporary hikes,” Sloan reports. “In California, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, whose members include Bank of America, Apple, and Microsoft, along with 12 other business groups, have told lawmakers that tax increases should be extended only if lawmakers agree to ‘structural reforms’ of the budget.”

“Republicans, who typically oppose tax hikes, now hold a majority of governorships — 29 — and many were elected last year after campaigning against tax increases. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, received national attention after vetoing a bill that would have extended a tax on millionaires in the state,” Sloan reports. “Some Democrats are also fighting the higher taxes. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sparked a battle with fellow party members in the legislature earlier this year by opposing legislation that would maintain the higher rates on individuals earning more than $1 million. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, didn’t push to extend his state’s millionaire tax last year.”

Sloan reports, “A few states are bucking the national trend. Connecticut has raised its top tax rate from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent. Oregon voters approved a measure in January establishing two new tax brackets: 10.8 percent for those earning more than $125,000 and 11 percent for those making more than $250,000. District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray proposed raising taxes for residents earning more than $200,000, but the District council nixed the plan.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, represents more than 325 Silicon Valley employers on issues, programs and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley, including energy, transportation, education, housing, health care, tax policies, economic vitality and the environment. Leadership Group members collectively provide nearly one of every four private sector jobs in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s website is here.


      1. Imagine if Obama has to run against a real black man, who loves America without apologies, and who’s a former CEO who’s employed thousands. Now that would be fun to watch!

        1. You republicans are the ones who hate America. You want to turn us into a state of slaves where only a few at the top have all the money. That’s hating America.

          1. Do not blame me because you don’t understand how the U.S. economic system works. The “rich” that you so obviously hate (for no reason) are the ones who pay most of the taxes and employ most of the people.

            From Guess Who Really Pays the Taxes in the U.S.A.

            Yes, income in America is skewed toward the rich. But taxes are skewed far, far more. The top 5 percent pay well over half the income taxes.

            Didn’t the Bush tax cuts favor the rich?

            The New York Times reported recently that the average family in America with an income of $10 million or more received a half-million-dollar tax cut, while the middle class got crumbs (less than $100 shaved off their tax bill). If we examine the taxes paid in a static world—that is, if we assume that there was no change in behavior and economic performance as a result of the tax code—then these numbers are meaningful. Most of the tax cuts went to the super wealthy.

            But Americans did respond to the tax cuts. There was more investment, more hiring by businesses, and a stronger stock market. When we compare the taxes paid under the old system with those paid after the Bush tax cuts, the rich are now actually paying a higher proportion of income taxes. The latest IRS data show an increase of more than $100 billion in tax payments from the wealthy by 2005 alone. The number of tax filers who claimed taxable income of more than $1 million increased from approximately 180,000 in 2003 to over 300,000 in 2005. The total taxes paid by these millionaire households rose by about 80 percent in two years, from $132 billion to $236 billion.

            What is the economic logic behind these lower tax rates?

            As legend has it, the famous “Laffer Curve” was first drawn by economist Arthur Laffer in 1974 on a cocktail napkin at a small dinner meeting attended by the late Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley and such high-powered policymakers as Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Laffer showed how two different rates—one high and one low—could produce the same revenues, since the higher rate would discourage work and investment. The Laffer Curve helped launch Reaganomics here at home and ignited a frenzy of tax cutting around the globe that continues to this day. It’s also one of the simplest concepts in economics: lowering the tax rate on production, work, investment, and risk-taking will spur more of these activities and will often produce more tax revenue rather than less. Since the Reagan tax cuts, the United States has created some 40 million new jobs—more than all of Europe and Japan combined.

            Are lower tax rates responsible for the big budget deficits of recent decades?

            There is no correlation between tax rates and deficits in recent U.S. history. The spike in the federal deficit in the 1980s was caused by massive spending increases.

            The Congressional Budget Office reports that, since the 2003 tax cuts, federal revenues have grown by $745 billion—the largest real increase in history over such a short time period. Individual and corporate income tax receipts have jumped by 30 percent in the two years since the tax cuts.

            So, lower tax rates can lead to increased tax revenues?

            The same phenomenon occurred with the capital gains tax, which is essentially a voluntary tax because asset owners can avoid it by simply holding onto their stock, home, or business. This “lock-in” effect, as it is called, can be economically inefficient, since owners have a tax incentive to keep poor investments, rather than drawing out the cash and putting it into assets that are more productive. When the capital gains tax is cut, people unlock their assets and reinvest in other enterprises.

            The 1997 tax reform, passed under President Clinton, reduced the capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent, and taxable capital gains nearly doubled over the next three years. The 2003 reform brought the rate down to 15 percent, and between 2002 and 2005 there was a 154 percent increase in capital gains reported as income.

            This explosion in realized gains cannot be explained only by the rise in the stock market, which averaged just 13 percent annually between 2003 and 2005. Capital gains tax receipts also far outpaced the revenues that the government’s static models predicted. Between 2003 and 2007, actual tax receipts exceeded expectations by $207 billion.

            If you’re interested in facts that Democrats who promote class warfare in order to get elected do not want you to know, read more here: Guess Who Really Pays the Taxes in the U.S.A..

          2. @Eric – you obviously don’t understand how economics work so let me take a moment to educate you so your next post won’t embarrass you.

            What these governments have discovered is that taxation is elastic – i.e. you don’t necessarily get more when you tax more. By increasing taxes on wealthy individuals, it causes them to spend more time finding loopholes, moving to tax-friendly states, or not investing to make more.

            It’s that last part that hurts the middle class – by not investing or spending more, the economy slows. When the economy slows – guess who gets laid off? Yup – the little guy.

            Now, from a federal perspective, the top 2% of income earners pay about half of all federal taxes. So they are paying WAY MORE than their fair share already. I would bet the same is true for most states.

            The one or two people very rich people who don’t pay income taxes that you hear about don’t usually get a paycheck – they earn their money through capital gains on investments or by dividends on tax free bonds. Those have different tax structures.

            So if it helps you, there is a very simple principle that you need to think through – whatever the government taxes you will get less of.

            If you tax capital (money that businesses have to invest), you will get less investments and less jobs. If you tax the job creators, you will get less job creators. If you tax fuel, people will drive less or buy more fuel efficient cars.

            Taxes are a necessary evil but the problems with most state governments are not revenues but spending. Their budgets have outgrown the ability for taxpayers to support it.

            Every social program that tries to solve every need and all kinds of other projects, combined with above-average union payscales, overtime, and defined benefits has swelled these state budgets Increasing taxes makes people SLAVES TO THE STATE.

            And here is something that you know intuitively – if your boss makes millions of dollars and extremely wealthy, does that create more opportunity for you or less? Do fat bonuses come from companies barely making a profit or those that are making a killing?

            Which companies offer the best benefits – the ones that are barely making a profit or the ones that are cash rich?

            Taking money from them through taxation just to give it to you simply because you’re you takes money, productivity, and incentive out of our economic system and makes you dependent on the state and a parasite to the economy.

            I hope this helps.

        2. Not going to happen. The Tea Baggers would die from apoplexy at having to choose between two black men and without the Tea Baggers the Republicans cannot obtain a majority.

            1. they don’t understand it’s not about the color of the skin…
              I’d vote for Cain anyday over most of the politicians out there.

              we don’t need a politician right now.

          1. You’re an idiot. You should broaden your cable news consumption beyond MSNBC. You’ve obviously got Mad-cow disease.

            I’d vote for Cain in a nano-second. He’s qualified, charismatic, and talks straight. Everything that Obama’s not.

          2. Your comment proves beyond all doubt that it is impossible for you not only to speak about or for the Tea Party but to understand who they are.

            Your comment serves to out you as the racist you are.

    1. Well, its the Corporations goal to maximize profit, they’re doing their jobs.

      It’s also our job to invest in Human Capital (eg. that’s what happens when you read books) so we can compete against other countries for Employment.

      Overall, though, I think it’s obvious that America’s taxes are much too low. After all, that’s why they have so much debt. It’s that simple. And it’s that debt that looks about 6 months away from bankrupting the country. Oops?

      So much for Reaganomics 🙁

        1. Actually, we’re second behind Japan. I only bring that up because I don’t argue that America taxes corps agressively, I question your knowledge of reality. You obviously just spouted off some Fox News talking point without doing 3 seconds of research yourself.

      1. it’s not that we are taxed too little… its that congress SPENDS TOO MUCH….

        spend millions to fund studies on how much alcohol it takes to get a college freshman female to sleep with someone? (it’s a government paid study…)
        and thats just 1 of the billions of stupid things the government blows money on.

        and where in the constitution does it say invest in human capital?
        Constitution gives YOU the ability to do so, it does not PROVIDE for you the means to do so. invest in your own human capital. Don’t insert Marxism into the constitution… they are different.

        and you might want to look at reganomics a little deeper, for every $1 he brought in, congress spent $1.70…
        we have a spending problem, not an income problem.

    2. Excrement.
      The US has one of the LOWEST effective tax rates on both corporations and individuals in the OECD. The listed rate incorporate taxes is high, but very few pay anywhere near it. Exxon-Mobil, by far the most profitable US corporation, actually got a refund from the IRS thanks to loopholes, exemptions, tax credits and such.

      Likewise, the states and local governments have been giving away tax waivers and abatements to companies to entice them to locate in site A vs site B. Companies have cone to expect it and governments have given away the store.
      Thirdly, most wealthy people are taxed at the Capital Gains rates- not as income.

      Warren Buffet’s famous comment about how his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does is still true. He challenged the CEOs of the Fortune 500 to show him one instance where they paid a higher tax rate than their secretary- he has had no takers. The fact that this challenge has been on the table for years speaks volumes.

    3. @ Malvado: wish that were true, but it simply isn’t. Small businesses, most of which take out substantial loans, have historically created the majority of jobs. When the 2008 liquidity dried up, there went the jobs — and if not actively offshoring jobs, US wealth-holders are still sitting on cash piles instead of hiring.

      Might I suggest that you read GE’s 2010 SEC filing?

  1. Once again, Barack Hussein Obama finds himself on the wrong side of an issue. It’s not surprising. Since the “community organizer” has no experience of ever running even a tiny business, it’s easy to see why his “understanding” of economics is built upon the liberal thought that’s infected the U.S. college and university system.

    Obviously, after extolling the virtues of stealing from the rich to give to the poor (to squander on big screen TVs, premium cable, and cigarettes), Barry’s esteemed professors forgot to mention that it has no history of working anywhere in the world. Also obvious is that Barry was too intellectually lazy to study the matter for himself, so we all get to enjoy going down the shitter with him. Even though it’s obvious to anyone who passed History or Economics 101 that Obama’s policies are a recipe for failure.

    No matter, this mistake will be rectified come November 6, 2012.

    Yeah, yeah, I know: I’m a “racist.”

    Explain this away with your race card, Lib failures:

    Hermain Cain for President!

    1. The 2012 election is a long way off & U wouldn’t get my hopes too high based upon who is running in the Republican Party. Even polling of likely Republican Primary voters shows they are a pretty lame collection.
      My guess, barring some earth shattering change, will be Obama’s re-election, a slight increase in Democratic strength in the Senate and recapture of the US House of Representatives.

      The Teabaggers have run their course, the fever has broken & once again the Republicans have shown just how crazy and extreme they are. Ryan will probably not even retain his seat in Congress. The GOP has pissed too many people in Wisconsin off.

  2. I’m not an economist, so I don’t know what the sweet spot is for marginal tax rates. But I do know that even if they are increased to pre ‘W’ levels, they will still be historically be very low.

    1. No doubt Republicans are going to extend tax credits for the rich until they just must all of the rest of us into labor camps and the rich have all our money transferred to their bank accounts. THey have no idea that the extreme measure they are taking to rape America is going to eventually result in a revival of socialism and maybe even communism when their victims finally wake up and realize that they outnumber the rich a million to one.

      1. Read my post above and get educated for a real change. You sound like a real MSNBC viewer – a rarity and not a compliment. Stop being a pawn of Democrats and their repeatedly failed policies.

    2. You Would be correct.

      In the fact that pre Reagan the top tax rate was 70%….

      So anything below that would be low.

      Flat rate tax. Quit having a tax code that is 50,000 pages of loopholes and wording that confuses even the IRS.
      You can sum it up in a page with the flat tax.
      Even the fair tax that boortz writes about is better than what we have now.

  3. Jeez, don’t come to Australia, then!

    AFAIK, the tax rate for companies is a standard 30%, while for individuals earning $180,001 and over it’s 45% (for the part that exceeds $180k, that is). The tax-free threshold is $6k and the rates above that range from 12.6% to 45%)..

    1. PS: Oh, and the richest people in the country use all sorts of tricks and loopholes so they end up paying little or no tax.

      AND… Apple gear is more expensive over here.

      So, U.S. taxpayers, don’t expect any sympathy from Aussies!

  4. Forget about all these stupid taxes.. how about a flat tax?? across the board percent.. doesn’t matter how much you make.. you get taxed 1 rate just like everyone else. There shouldn’t be any confusion or formulas or tax books to go through to figure out what you owe… you get paid this much… multiply it by this percent number… DONE! thats all. Of course there are the deductions and such as well but if you really want to get people to buy and actually save money too then there needs to be 1 rate.

    There should be incentives or better ones for companies to start/stay here to give people jobs.

  5. Under normal circumstances, it’s really only a spending-problem, i.e. there have to be cutbacks in the budget.
    But the fear (around the world) is that the US is beyond this point already (and has been for some time) and needs to both cut the budget and raise taxes.

  6. Since we’re off topic anyway, why is America the only developed country on the planet without universal health care? America also has much poorer mortality stats than other developed countries and people in financial trouble due to medical expenses.

    1. America’s healthcare system is totally broken because our government provides for-profit providers with near monopolies on their services, allows them to charge (sort of) what they want for them, and then — upon realizing that medical care has become unaffordable for many people — subsidizes it in a hundred and one ways. It’s basically the worst of all possible worlds; costs are permitted to rise indefinitely, without the market forces of competition to bring them down. At least other countries try to contain the inefficiencies of the managed market with rationing and cost controls, but of course that doesn’t cure the problem, it just slows its growth; even in countries like yours, healthcare costs are increasing far more quickly than GDP (and this cannot be explained entirely by ‘better service’ or an aging population, since the amount spent *even on routine procedures* is increasing, and it is increasing within every age bracket). Like all socialized services, it too is on an eventual trajectory to bankruptcy.

      The best explanation I’ve ever read of what’s really wrong with medicine in this country (and how to fix it) was an article in The Atlantic entitled “How American Healthcare Killed My Father” (linked below). Senator Rand Paul, as notorious as he might be for other comments on the subject, gives a similar speech in different words (video, part 1 of 2 also linked below, but I recommend the article first).

      Hope that helps!

  7. Why is health care considered universal?

    Why isn’t eating considered universal? Food’s not expensive you may say, then why do some go to bed hungry?

    Why isn’t gasoline universal? With the high prices and being in sales, filling up my car’s fuel tank twice a week is just as expensive as the health insurance premium I pay!

    What about universal pay? Can’t live with poor health. Can’t live without money too!

    What about universal housing? Everyone has the right to a home even if they can’t afford one? Oh wait, that’s part of what has screwed up this economy in the first place!

    Why do idiots say Republicans want to turn “us” into a state of slaves? First, Republicans freed slaves during US Civil War. It was a democrat, General McClellan, the democratic nominee in the 1864 election for President who proposed letting the south go and keep their slaves. Then it was Republicans who helped pass Civil Rights because not enough Democrats like Al Gore’s father would vote for the Civil Rights act. You had Dixiecrats (democrats) all over the south. Jim Crow. The senior Senator from West Virginia, a democrat, was Grand Wizard in the Ku Klux Klan. Blacks flock to the democratic party who for 40+ years touted a better life! Where is it?! Blacks still griping about same things! Democrat Liberal Progressive programs throw only scraps to their black constituents, keeping them enslaved to such programs, therefore bringing back that whole master slave mentality all over again. And who is doing it? You’re friendly, most likely ting, democraticprogressive liberal! That’s who.

    1. If you think the Republicans of today are the same as the Republicans of the 1860s or even the 1960s, you have a serious problem with reality. They’re gone. The Democrats lost the Dixiecrats to the Republican Party in the 1960s. Then the Republicans lost their soul when they had to embrace the Southern Social Conservatives to get elected. The Republican Party has abandoned the American citizens in favor of a few moneyed elites and corporations and has only one goal, power, to ensure and maintain the advantages to those groups.

      1. “has abandoned the American citizens in favor of a few moneyed elites and corporations and has only one goal, power, to ensure and maintain the advantages to those groups.”

        That describes any party that runs for president, governor, mayor, etc.

        They are all the same.. if people really weren’t so greedy for power then this country could succeed… but it wont and it will continually get worse until all is gone. We are the youngest nation or one of the youngest and we went from nothing to super power and slowly now working back to nothing.

      2. distort history much?…

        so a 1948 failed election does not make them wait 12+ years to switch parties. only 1 switched parties to republican, the rest went BACK to the dems. (thurmond)
        it’s odd that some people say 3 switched.. Godwin and Helms. yet NEITHER of them were elected until the 50’s… and the Dixiecrats were in 1948, not 1960’s

        remember it was the republicans that voted en mass for the civil rights act, the democrats voted against it like now now stated above.

        1. The point in my post is… everyone is corrupt and out for themselves. I once was republican but now independent and really thing they should eliminate all parties and just be independent. That would actually force the majority of republicans and dems to actually research a bit more before voting. I know many who simply vote for one because they are a republican and some who will vote only democrat even if the person goes off on a killing spree beforehand just because they have voted in their same party all their life and wont change.

          But back to my point, everyone atleast these days are all in it for themselves. I’m sure there is much more going on behind the scenes than anyone will ever know. I’m not some huge conspiracy theorist but it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of the elections for president, governor, senate, etc. were won from bribes. Its not unrealistic to think that either with all the scamming that goes on these days.

          1. I think some people understood the point you were making. The Republicans knew they were ultimately going to lose as the country became more populist, so they co-opted the social conservative movement, and in turn sold out their true conservative roots in order to remain relevant.

            If you look back at history, Mr Conservative Barry Goldwater would be labelled a liberal today and even Reagan would be called a RINO.

      3. I agree wholeheartedly. This is not the Republican Party I joined over 30 years ago. In fact, I wish people would stop calling it the Republican Party and start calling it what it has become: The Neo-Confederate Party. They are still fighting the Civil War, and unfortunately, they are winning some battles.

  8. The top 10% pay 50% of all taxes while owning 90% of the wealth. From that perspective, I really don’t lose any sleep over higher tax rates for the wealthy. The 30 year experiment in trickle down economics has largely failed all but the wealthiest. It’s time to do something else.

    1. and you are way off here.

      “The top 5 percent earned 34.7 percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes”

      and you might want to drop your liberal bias and learn to read published facts. you are off by a little.. say at least 20%….
      wait? Switzerland has more wealth in the top 10% than the US?…..

      and if you were to read the above links you see that the top 10% tend to RISK their money by a huge margin over the bottom 90%. Stocks, investments etc. thats how they make their wealth higher.

  9. “The top 10% pay 50% of all taxes while owning 90% of the wealth”

    Let us make sure this is clearly understood by all.

    The top 10% of Americans actually generate almost 80% of income. Remaining 90% of America makes only 20% of income. Meanwhile, with that 20% of income, they have to pay almost 50% of all the tax money, the top 10% paying for the other half.

    Over the past 20 years, American income grew almost 30%. However, most of those gains went to the top 10%. Over 60% of Americans are actually making LESS money than 20 years ago; 20% of them are making about the same; only the richest ones are actually making more; much more.

    The point is, the richest of the rich (i.e. those above $250,000 income) have larger percentage share in income than they do in taxes.

    Whenever I see American conservative politicians advocating for tax breaks, arguing that they need be fair to the rich too, and then comparing numbers, they ALWAYS talk about income taxation, failing to take into account payroll taxes, which are probably the greatest burden for the bottom 80%.

    1. While your numbers may be true they don’t paint the whole picture. Americans buying power increased over the last 20 years so our standard of living has gone up.

      There are several impacts to income that have nothing to do with taxation. One is that we’re dealing with a global economy powered by the Internet – we now have to compete with wage rates around the world – not just in our backyard.

      The second is increased government regulations that create barriers of entry for new entrepreneurs as startup costs and hiring costs have risen dramatically.

      Without more of these new business startups that can create a fat middle class, opportunity is lost.

      The other loss of income is from private sector unions. The unions ability to negotiate above-market price wage and benefits has been severely weakened.

      The loss of manufacturing jobs due to increased taxes, wage rates, and government regulations also has robbed the middle class of opportunities.

      So to simply blame the rich and penalize them for doing what we do with our own money is naive. There are much greater forces at work.

      When you own a business, you get to make decisions that bend in your favor. When employees or the government try to take what you own and earned away from you, you find ways (hopefully legally) to protect that.

      I say drop the tax rate on foreign earned money for corporations and we could see hundreds of billions of dollars come stateside. Money that could hire more people, buy new technology, and put more of America back to work.

      Right now, our tax policies makes those companies keep that money overseas.

  10. Having said this, I wonder how is this story related to Apple, Mac, iOS, or even technology?

    Many people abandoned MDN because of these political debates. While there are clearly several participants in these discussions who seem to come to this forum not for Apple news, but for political slug fest (hint: look at their names: “Obama Failure”; “First 2000, then 2001”, etc), I’m pretty sure that vast majority of us tends to prefer Apple-related debate.

    1. while we do not agree on much..
      i DO agree with you on this.

      you can point fingers, and so can i at others. (on the left side of the debates) you come into an article talking about some Apple related article… and someone starts a political attack that has NO bearing on the article at hand…

  11. Warren Buffet is not honest with the secretary challenge. Many top CEO’s only take a $1 annual salary so they can be considered a full time employee and get benefits.

    The rest of their money is made with stock options which are taxed as capital gains rather than income tax.

    During the Reagan and Bush years, the economy was doing a lot better than the Carter/Obama years.

    I much prefer trickle down economics rather than the current deluge up poverty.

    1. New Deal=Milllions lifted from poverty=most prosperous era=50-90% tax rates on rich=Corporate reinvestment to avoid tax=More Hiring=Unions=Min. Wage=Regulations=Tariffs=No Outsourcing=More Jobs Here=More $$ in consumer hands=No Recession 🙂

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