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Teamsters Oppose Pairing Tax Breaks With US Minimum Wage Hike January 8, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The Teamsters Union will oppose efforts to add tax and regulatory breaks to legislation increasing the federal minimum wage, Teamsters Union legislative director Fred McLuckie said Monday.

“We don’t think additional tax breaks are necessary,” McLuckie said.

House and Senate Democratic leaders have said they will quickly move legislation increasing the federal minimum wage to $7.15 per hour. But while the House Democratic plan will likely not include any additional provisions, Senate Democratic leaders have said they will add to the plan certain tax and regulatory breaks for small businesses.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that if he wanted to pass a minimum wage increase without the tax cuts, he might be able to garner the 60 of 100 Senate votes needed to counter a filibuster by conservative Republicans.

But Reid said he saw no need to “bang his head against the wall” and would add tax cuts and regulatory relief if that was what was needed to win a strong bipartisan vote for the minimum wage increase.

McLuckie said that the problem with the plan is that tax breaks added to minimum wage increases have been expensive and poorly targeted.

In 2000, in one proposal the value of proposed tax cuts surpassed 11-to-1 the value of the minimum wage increase, McLuckie said.

Likewise, many of the benefits often go to large corporations rather than to the smaller businesses the tax breaks were allegedly intended to help, he said.

“The Democratic Congress has stated they want to restrain spending, so it is very important they look at a clean minimum wage bill,” McLuckie said.

Teamsters government affairs director Mike Mathis said that lawmakers they helped get elected shouldn’t think their obligations end with passage of the minimum wage increase.

“We worked very hard to get these people elected,” said Mathis. “We are going to be holding leadership accountable.”

Teamsters have a long laundry list of priorities, from fighting the NAFTA super highway to increasing labor union rights’ to organize workers to giving pension plans standing in bankruptcy court to maximize the chance of making up for underfunded pension plans when a company’s fortunes sour.

By John Godfrey, Dow Jones Newswires


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