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A bill that is important to self-employed Americans has been introduced in the House of Representatives. I am a co-sponsor of HR 3660, which would amend the Internal Revenue Service Code to provide that the deduction for the health insurance costs of self-employed individuals be allowed in determining self-employment tax. Passage of this bill would end a significant inequity within the tax code, an inequity that penalizes self-employed citizens and makes it increasingly difficult to afford health coverage.
Statistics show that the self-employed have been hit particularly hard by the rising costs of health care. The legislation, which is known as the Equity for Our Nation?s Self-Employed Act, is supported by a coalition of leading small business and trade organizations, which feel strongly that the self-employed must have a fair and level playing field in order to start up, grow and be successful in their businesses.
Under the current tax code, corporations are able to deduct health insurance premiums as a business expense and forego FICA taxes in these costs. However, the sole proprietors are not allowed this same deduction and, thus, are required to pay an additional 15.3 percent self-employment tax - their payroll tax - on their health insurance premiums. The self-employed are the only segment of America?s business population that pays this extra tax on health insurance.
Over 20 million sole proprietors would be affected by passage of this bill. The money they save could be used to reinvest and expand their businesses, hire part-time help or cover the ever-increasing costs of their current health coverage.
Another trade bill that could cost U. S. workers jobs was sent to the Senate. On a vote of 285-to-132, the House passed the United States- Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act. I voted against this bill.
This agreement is another in a series of Congressional actions that drain jobs from the United States. What I consider to be ill-advised trade policy began with the enaction of NAFTA in 1992 and has continued over the years, as the United States has entered into similar trade agreements with China, countries in Africa and some of the nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
While the argument can be made that freer trade among these countries is good in concept, the flaw is that trade among these nations with the U. S. is not fair. The United States has not insisted upon other nations opening their doors to U. S. goods at the same level as we invite in products made in other countries. Wages in these other nations are a mere fraction of the wages that American workers earn, and in most cases, the other, less-developed nations of the world do not have the level of oversight and inspection that we are accustomed to in the U. S. Bringing uninspected products into the U. S. can put consumers at risk.
Please keep in touch with me on issues that are important to you. You may write Congressman Virgil Goode, 70 East Court Street, Room 215, Rocky Mount, VA 24151; or fax to 1-540-484-1459; or call toll-free to the Danville office, 1-800-535-4008.