In the President's State of the Union address earlier this year, there was particular emphasis placed on the growing disparity between America's highest and lowest income earners. His speech made it clear that one of his top priorities would be to raise the federal minimum wage, with or without Congressional support -- and he followed through in February by raising the base hourly pay for federal contract workers via an executive order.
In this week's edition of The Taxpayer's Tab, NTUF examined one of the proposals to raise the federal minimum wage across the rest of the country, Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) Minimum Wage Fairness Act. S. 1737 would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour within three years, and has picked up 39 cosponsors in the upper Chamber. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that while the bill's provisions would lift some 500,000 workers above the poverty line, it could also cost as many as 1 million jobs in 2016. CBO's analysis shows the bill would increase federal spending by about $2 million over five years, and reduce revenues by $13.7 billion in that same time (largely because of an extension for certain small business tax deductions included in the text).
Also featured this week:
- Most Expensive: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 2157, which would replace the controversial Medicare SGR physician payment system in favor of performance-based mechanisms (Congress has legislatively adjusted the current payment scale 17 times in the past 11 years). The Commonsense Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act would, according to CBO, cost $66.5 billion over five years, or $13.3 billion per year on average.
- Wildcard: Senator Mark Udall's (D-CO) Access to Consumer Energy Information (E-Access) Act would provide federal grants to local and state utility agencies to make their cost-accounting systems more transparent and readily accessible to customers. S. 2165 would cost $10 million, which NTUF assumes would be spent over a period of five years.
NTUF has also been in the news lately: our analysis on Congressional Caucus budget alternatives was featured at Townhall.com, and Real Clear Policy picked up Research and Outreach Manager Dan Barrett's piece on the "Neutral Tax".
For more on the bills above and other NTUF-related news, you can read the Tab online.