Oops: Two-month payroll-tax holiday would be a logistical nightmare, say experts

Righties on Twitter are crowing that this means Reid's bill is DOA, but I'm not so sure. Don't forget, The One has been known to stand behind programs that even his own cabinet says are surefire disasters in the making. If he and Reid let little things like unworkable math or Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmares stop them from passing legislation, we wouldn't have ObamaCare, now would we?

Pete Isberg, president of the [nonprofit National Payroll Reporting Consortium] today wrote to the key leaders of the relevant committees of the House and Senate, telling them that "insufficient lead time" to implement the complicated change mandated by the legislation means the two-month payroll tax holiday "could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees.".

The two-month payroll tax holiday, which the president has said should be extended throughout 2012, will mean that wages would face a Social Security tax of 4.2 percent during January and February, but it would increase to 6.2 percent in March.

Isberg wrote that "many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February. The systems affected tend to be highly complex, normally requiring at least ninety days for a change of this magnitude for software testing alone; not to mention analysis, design, coding and implementation."

That's not the only group that says two months is too short. The National Association of Wholesale-Distributors wrote to Congress today to second the conclusions of the NPRC, so in case there was any lingering doubt about how tonight's House vote will go, this should eliminate it. The only mystery now is how partisan the roll will be. Will House Democrats stick with Reid by endorsing a policy that would cause chaos to payrolls across the country or will they bail too, backing Reid into a corner? And what happens now to Senate Republicans like Scott Brown who have been grumbling that Boehner's reversal on the two-month extension is "irresponsible and wrong"? Do they cave under the weight of the NPRC verdict or press on for another dumb, lazy stopgap measure? Only one thing is certain: If not for one last round of congressional histrionics and floor drama, there'd be nothing to blog about this week at all.

Read the posting here: http://bit.ly/uEIh2M


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