Release #11.33
November 4, 2011

ALPA Commends Broad Congressional Opposition to Taxing Workers’ Health-Care Benefits

WASHINGTON – Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement commending a letter sent today by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and signed by a total of 160 members of Congress to the Super Committee expressing staunch opposition to an effort to tax employer-provided health-care benefits.

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, commends Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and the rest of the 160 members of Congress who, by signing this letter, have taken a strong stand for the millions of U.S. workers who depend on tax-exempt, employer-provided health-care benefits to keep themselves and their families healthy.

“Approximately 160 million families in the United States participate in employer-provided health plans. Such a regressive effort to tax these benefits would burden middle-class families with higher taxes and health-care costs at a time when workers have already endured widespread job losses and wage cuts. The tax exemption for employer-provided health-care benefits, which has been in place for decades, is not behind the debt currently facing the United States. Hard-working families should not suffer because of it.

“Even conservative estimates conclude that the Simpson-Bowles proposal would mean 61 percent of working families would pay higher taxes or higher health-care costs by 2018. More than 82 percent of the revenue collected by this proposal would come from families that earn less than $200,000 annually. Globally, this flawed proposal would make the United States the only country in the industrialized world to tax health-care benefits.

“In addition, taxing employer-provided health-care benefits undermines decades of public policy that has recognized both the value of employer-provided health-care plans and the importance of maintaining their tax-exempt status. This policy was reflected in the most recent Grand Bargain, when, in 1986, then-President Reagan left employer-provided health-care benefits untaxed.

“This proposal threatens workers and the health of our nation’s families. As a result, thousands of ALPA members expressed to elected representatives their adamant opposition to the notion of taxing employer-provided health-care benefits. We are gratified that Congress has heard the call from airline pilots and workers across this nation.

“We applaud the tremendous leadership shown today and urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to insist that employer-provided health-care plans remain fully tax exempt.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.

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CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or media@alpa.org