There are two basic principles that I believe alway apply to legislation coming out of Washington today. The first is the “Law of Unintended Consequences” and the second is that any legislation from Wasthington will include changes to create more government jobs and further complicate tax law.
Already, there have been a number of issues with the massive Health Care Reform bill to come to light. Another one hit CNN today - a small change to the way businesses report taxes that will create mountains of new paperwork for business.
In short, the new HCR bill requires that businesses use the 1099 form to document ANY purchase made by the company in excess of $600. Until this change, the 1099 form was used to document contract work done by individuals outside the company. Now, a company has to document purchases as well. Buy a computer from Cosco? Send them a 1099 form so you can include it in your tax paperwork. Take some business clients to lunch a couple of times, send the resteraunt a 1099 form so you can include it in your tax paperwork.
This constitutes a massive change in how the 1099 form is to be used by business. It also complicates the tax paperwork burden of small businesses that do not have large accounting departments. The Cato institute calls it a “costly, anti business nightmare”.
While the change is aimed at tightening up loopholes in tax reporting in effort to generate more revenue to pay for this massive HCR bill, the impact to businesses - both large and small - has yet to be determined. At the very least, it will require literally millions of new 1099 forms to be sent out and included business tax paperwork, further complicating the tax reporting burden of business.
This law is set to take effect in 2012 and there has already been an amendment proposed to the HCR removing this change. The IRS has yet to issue it’s regulations on this new legal requirement either so it is difficult to determine how this new requirement will be implimented.
The only concrete outcome of this new regulation is that it will require more government employees to go through this mountain of paperwork to make sure businesses are complying with whatever regulations the IRS set to meet the law. Once again, Government shows that is it a jobs program for governmental employees.
One of the hot topics in the wake of the passage of the Health Care Bill has been how to address illegal Immigration in the US. This topic was kind of put on the back burner for a while while Congress Critters fought over whether to address Finance Reform or some other issue, but Arizona decided to light a fire that only Congress can answer.
Arizona passed a very controversial and sweeping law to address the illegal immigration issue in thier state. As it was originally written, it required law enforcement officers to ask for documentation when there was reasonable suspicion that the person was an illegal. Since “reasonable suspicion” could mean a lot of things when talking about deciding whether a person was an illegal, it was feared by many people that this law would lead to racial profiling and be a violation of a person constitutional rights.
Arizona has since modified the law to only require a law enforcement officer to ask for documentation when the person is being questioned in relation to something else - a traffic stop, another possible violation of the law, or even a noise complaint in violation of a city or local ordinance.
Protest for this law has been wide and varied across the US. A couple of city mayors have put a “ban” on visiting Arizona for thier employees, many groups are calling for boycott of the state and even the Arizona Pro Basketball team is wearing jerseys with the team name in Spanish to show support for the state’s latino population in protest to the new law.
Those that support the new law are almost universal in thier criticism of the lack of movement on this issue at the Federal Level. Arizona has seen a lot of violence at the border in recent months and many in Arizona are angry at what they perceive to be an “epic” problem with illegals in thier state. Many have expressed a deep contempt that the current (and previous) Administration and Congresses haven’t already addressed the issue.
With midterm elections coming up this year, a number of Congress Critters have expressed a reluctance to address the issue of Illegal immigration. President Obama made the statement that he felt there wasn’t the “will” to address the issue in light of the elections and the contentions over the Health Care Bill.
At a celebration being held at the White House today, President Obama called upon Congress “to work on comprehensive immigration reform this year”. The question will be whether Congress will rise to the task.
It is no surprise that Illegal immigration and immigration reform are scary issues for Congress. The majority of American Voters see the Illegal immigration as an important issue (at least in every poll taken over the last six years) but they are divided in what they think should be done about it. Further, in the wake of the massive Health Care Reform Bill passed earlier this year, Congress has to step very lightly in passing anything that will cost the American Taxpayers any more money. If there is an issue even more universally consistant right now than the desire for immigration reform, it would be that Americans are concerned that the Federal Government is spending too much money.
Many lawmakers see immigration reform as a “no win” situation. If they work for stronger penalties for illegal caught in the country (mass deportation being the strongest), they piss off the minority communities and given that the latin vote is the single fastest growing voting block in the US, many are not willing to take that route. On the other hand, if they vote to give illegals a route to citizenship (amnesty), they end up pissing off the many conservatives that believe that all illegals should be deported.
About the only things the majority seems to agree on is that the borders into the US have to be secured before anything can be done about the illegal already in the country. Unfortunately, that will not be cheap or easy to do.
Montana’s Junior Senator, Jon Tester, is scheduled to appear at the University of Montana - Western in Dillon to give the Commencement address for the 209 students graduating on Saturday, May 8th. While no details of the address are available yet, I doubt Sen Tester will remain in Dillon long after the rather cold and hostile “welcome” he recieved last time he visited Dillon to discuss his proposed Forestry Plan. If plans change, and I find out about some kind of public meet and greet, I will post it here.