Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lawmakers Push to Add Bonus Tax to $150 Billion Bill Before Senate

From the

Two Democratic senators were pushing for a vote Thursday on a measure that would levy a one-time tax on bonuses paid to executives at firms that received significant infusions of taxpayer cash during the economic crisis.

If Sens. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and Jim Webb (D., Va.) are successful, it would bring the contentious issue of executive compensation back to the fore.

"It's a one-time amendment based on a unique situation in this country when the American taxpayers had to bail out our major companies in order to stabilize our economy," Mr. Webb said on the floor of the Senate Thursday.

The tax would be a one-off 50% levy on bonuses above $400,000 paid to executives at institutions that received $5 billion or more of taxpayer support.

It would apply to 11 institutions, all financial firms except for car maker General Motors Co., which has one of the largest outstanding debts to the Treasury. Housing guarantee agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would also be hit by the measure.

Only bonuses paid in 2010 related to performance in 2009 would be impacted.

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