Tax and Spending Package Will Boost Federal Deficits

Blog Post
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Congress rushed through a budget package last week that will increase spending in the current fiscal year while adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt over the next decade by extending some tax breaks and making others permanent.

The legislation, which President Obama quickly signed, also unfortunately delays three Affordable Care Act taxes, including a key cost-control provision called the “Cadillac tax.”

“This may be the season for generosity, but not fiscal lunacy,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. He was particularly critical of the tax legislation, noting that Congress was violating both its own budget and pay-as-you-go rules.

“The contrast between fiscal responsibility rhetoric and the reality of this package is quite remarkable,” Bixby said.

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday estimated that the package would raise federal deficits by $158 billion in Fiscal 2016 and by a total of nearly $680 billion over the coming decade.

The package included both the tax provisions and an overdue “omnibus” to fund the government for the rest of Fiscal 2016, which began Oct. 1.

Republican and Democratic negotiators finally reached a deal earlier last week. The House held separate votes on the tax and spending measures, which were then combined for the Senate vote.

External links:Cost Estimates on Tax and Appropriations Legislation (CBO)A Little Something for Nearly Everyone (N.Y. Times)Congress Passes Costly and Unfunded Tax Legislation (Peterson Foundation)