Capitol Hill

Only the beginning

House Democrats have proposed employing a new surtax for "wealthy" individuals to pay for a portion of their more than $1 trillion health care reform bill—H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. With this proposal, the battle regarding federal tax policy in the post-Bush era has begun, and there is quite a bit at stake for many small businesses and the U.S. economy.

H.R. 3200

As approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, H.R. 3200 would levy a surtax between 1 and 5.4 percent on the modified adjusted gross income of individuals earning more than $280,000 and families earning more than $350,000 per year. The surtax would take effect in 2011 and is estimated to bring $544 billion to the federal government during 10 years. If reforms in other parts of the bill do not produce a designated amount of savings by 2012, some of the surtax rates would increase in 2013.

President Obama endorsed the proposed surtax during his July 22 press conference, saying it "meets my principle that it is not being shouldered by families that are already having a tough time."