Partisan clash coming over payroll tax break extension

WASHINGTON – The Senate will vote later this week on a bill that would “extend and expand” a temporary payroll tax break by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The bill would reduce the payroll tax to 3.1 percent in 2012 – saving families an average of $1,500. The $240 billion cost would be paid for by imposing a 3.25 percent surtax on income over $1 million.

The 6.2 percent payroll tax paid by employees was cut to 4.2 percent this year, saving families an average $925. The break expires on Dec. 31.

Senate Democrats say the extension is needed to keep the economy from sliding back into recession. Senate Republicans argue that the millionaire tax would fall heaviest on small business owners they see as the engines for job growth.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said today that he plans to move ahead with a vote and cast any GOP opposition as being anti-middle class.

“Blocking this bill is a hit to middle class families,” Reid said during a conference call with reporters.

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