Indiana Chamber leader: Don’t spend that payroll tax cut money just yet

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("Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

President Trump says he’s suspending the Social Security deduction from your paycheck — but don’t spend that money just yet.

The order directs the Treasury Department not to deposit FICA money for the final four months of the year. But while the White House has floated the possibility of writing off tthat money entirely, the order only defers those payments till January. Some employers may not change anything, since they’re going to need to send that money to the Treasury eventually.

Indiana Chamber president Kevin Brinegar says the Chamber hasn’t offered its members any guidance yet. He says the organization’s federal lobbyists are trying to sort out what the order means.

Brinegar’s steering clear of judging whether the payroll tax is the right approach to jumpstart the economy, but notes economists have generally concluded it’s a “circuitous” approach to putting money in consumers’ pockets. Both parties in Congress have been unenthusiastic about the idea, with discussions focused more on whether to do a second round of the 12-hundred-dollar checks the I-R-S sent taxpayers in the spring.

It’s also uncertain whether a second executive order, extending enhanced unemployment benefits, will make its way to workers’ bank accounts. The 600-dollar weekly add-on to unemployment checks expired a week-and-a-half ago. Trump’s order restores a 400-dollar add-on, but requires states to pay a quarter of that money. Many states are struggling to cover their existing budgets, and White House advisers have sent conflicting signals about whether that contribution could be waived, or whether states could use other federal pandemic aid to make those payments.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says it’s still studying the order and can’t say yet how it will be implemented.

Brinegar says he hopes Congress and the White House will resume negotiations on a broader bill. He says he’s concerned the executive orders may make it harder to reach a deal, given Democratic criticism of both their substance and legality.

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