Minimum wage bill objectionable, but Rep. McCrery is taxpayers' ally

The Hill’s Feb. 15 article “Norquist takes aim at McCrery” attributed a quote to me which was a confusing summary of my concerns with pending tax legislation attached to the minimum wage bill that includes both tax hikes and tax reductions.

Americans for Tax Reform has several concerns with the minimum wage-plus-tax bill now before the House and Senate.

First, the tax increases are permanent and the tax reductions are in some cases temporary and others were extenders that have always been extended in the past without “offsetting” tax hikes.

Second, the minimum wage legislation itself will cost consumers some $18 billion over two years alone. While wage and price controls have a history of more than 2,000 years of failure — including the Nixon years for those with short memories — an offset to reduce or eliminate that damage would require a permanent tax cut of $9 billion a year.

The House and Senate legislation does not offset the damage to consumers by cutting taxes. It simply shifts taxes around. Even so, raising some taxes and cutting others in a revenue-neutral piece of legislation does not violate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge signed by 196 House members and 43 senators.

But such amalgams of tax hike and tax cuts will provide fodder for television commercials.

The New York Times attacked Republicans as tax increasers in a May 21, 2006 article because a $70 billion tax-cut bill included a tax increase on investment income that hit children of high-income Americans. The article incorrectly suggested that the entire bill violated the taxpayer protection pledge. It did not. It was a tax cut.

The news story was then circulated around the Internet and showed up in political campaigns throughout the country. The ads were both disingenuous and incorrect but that stopped no one.

Republicans need to be aware that the votes they take in committees and on the floor will be used against them regardless of the original intentions.

Taxes are too high today on the American people and the economy, and tax cuts should be enacted without being “taken back” by tax hikes. If the Democrats wish to vote for tax hikes they should do so alone.

To be clear: Rep. Jim McCrery (La.), the ranking Republican on Ways and Means, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. He has always kept it. He has never voted for a net tax hike on the American people.

Washington, D.C.


BOLDPAC’s work is important, well-regulated

From Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.)

I am writing in response to an article about the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) published Feb. 16 (“Five more in CHC may quit over ‘whore’ insult”), which contains inaccurate and misleading information, especially relating to BOLDPAC, a political organization that is linked to the CHC but operates independently.

The report recycles old and discredited charges about BOLDPAC and gives an incorrect impression of how BOLDPAC operates and how decisions to contribute campaign funds to candidates have been made.

Although I was the chairman of BOLDPAC last year, I did not have the authority to act unilaterally in making funding decisions about any candidates, and I did not do so. Moreover, I did not serve on the screening committee that recommended contributions to my sons’ campaigns, I did not participate in discussions leading to the decision to support the campaigns, and I abstained from the vote supporting the decision.

Joe Baca Jr. and Jeremy Baca both qualified for BOLDPAC funding after going through the application and screening process. Nonetheless, despite qualifying for campaign assistance in accordance with the regulations, both of them voluntarily returned campaign contributions from BOLDPAC to prevent the appearance of any impropriety. ...

BOLDPAC has also contributed to the campaigns of promising candidates running for nonfederal offices in order to help increase Hispanic representation at the state level and groom future congressional candidates.

BOLDPAC operates under strict regulations in accordance with its bylaws, which are publicly available. Any candidates seeking support from BOLDPAC must complete an application and go through a formal review process. All of the candidates whose campaigns received BOLDPAC support last year were deemed qualified in accordance with the group’s bylaws and regulations.

BOLDPAC is now under the leadership of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). My colleagues and I have great confidence in his leadership — the same qualities that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recognized in appointing Becerra to serve as assistant to the Speaker — and expect him to help BOLDPAC continue its important work.

Washington, D.C.