LI Dems back the tax; King doesn't
By Tom Brune
March 20, 2009
The House bill to levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses to employees at federally bailed-out firms such as AIG won the backing of Long Island's four Democrats yesterday, but was rejected by its lone Republican.
Reacting to widespread outrage at AIG's payments last weekend of $165 million in bonuses, the House passed the bill 328-93.
"We did this to restore the public's confidence that there are guardians at the gate, that their representatives are here to protect their money," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), sponsor of the bill with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) opposed it, though he said AIG bonuses should be returned. "It is wrong and dangerous," he said, "to use the tax code to target specific individuals to score political points. Today's legislation violates American protections against bills of attainder and ex post facto laws." He also called it "hypocritical posturing" by Democrats, saying they protected bonuses in the stimulus bill and their Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was involved in the AIG bailout from the start.
Democrats, however, blame the Bush administration for approving the bonuses last October.