What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, General : A vote on a Democratic substitute to a Republican-backed bill (HR 4279), a bill that grants further tax exemptions for employees who channel portions of their salaries into an employer-established health care fund called "flexible spending account" (FSA). (2004 house Roll Call 161)
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A vote on a Democratic substitute to a Republican-backed bill (HR 4279), a bill that grants further tax exemptions for employees who channel portions of their salaries into an employer-established health care fund called "flexible spending account" (FSA).
house Roll Call 161     May 12, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Democrats failed to advance a substitute to a conservative-backed bill (HR 4279) - a measure with a bearing on employees who channel portions of their salaries into an employer-established health care fund called "flexible spending account (FSA). HR 4279 would allow individuals who invest through their employers in FSAs to retain whatever balance they have left at the end of the year, up to $500, tax free. Under current law, all money in the FSA that has not been spent by an employee the year's end on healthcare services must be returned to the employer, and thus would be subject to federal taxation. The $500 of non-taxable money that will be placed in these accounts will rob the federal government of $8 billion in federal revenue over 10 years, progressives said. Progressives charged that the underlying goal of conservatives backing this bill is to dismantle the employer-based health insurance system, by encouraging a system where people set aside their own money for healthcare in these special tax deductible savings accounts. The Democratic substitute, which was rejected by the House 197-230, would provide similar roll-over opportunities for FSA accountholders. However, it would be paid for by eliminating the tax benefits that corporations receive when they reincorporate overseas for the express purposes of avoiding U.S. income taxes. Conservatives rejected the substitute mainly on the grounds that the funding mechanism identified in the proposal is "quite objectionable." Conservatives described such a tax imposition on corporations as a "retroactive" application of a change in the law which would affect companies that made a determination which was legal 30 or 40 years ago, they said.

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