Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who single-handedly thwarted her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors, received nearly $1 million over the last year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased under the plan.
For years, Democrats have promised to raise taxes on such investors, who pay a significantly lower rate on their earnings than ordinary workers. But just as they closed in on that goal last week, Sinema forced a series of changes to her party’s $740-billion election-year spending package, eliminating a proposed “carried interest” tax increase on private equity earnings while securing a $35-billion exemption that will spare much of the industry from a separate tax increase other huge corporations now have to pay.
The bill, with Sinema’s alterations intact, was given final approval by Congress on Friday and is expected to be signed by President Biden this coming week.
Sinema has long aligned herself with the interests of private equity, hedge funds and venture capital, helping her net at least $1.5 million in campaign contributions since she was elected to the House a decade ago. But the $983,000 she has collected since last summer more than doubled what the industry donated to her during all of her preceding years in Congress combined, according to an Associated Press review of campaign finances disclosures.
The donations, which make Sinema one of the industry’s top beneficiaries in Congress, serve as a reminder of the way that high-power lobbying campaigns can have dramatic implications for the way legislation is crafted, particularly in the evenly divided Senate where there are no Democratic votes to spare. They also highlight a degree of political risk for Sinema, whose unapologetic defense of the industry’s favorable tax treatment is viewed by many in her party as indefensible.
“From their vantage point, it’s a million dollars very well spent,” said Dean Baker, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal-leaning think tank. “It’s pretty rare you see this direct of a return on your investment. So I guess I would congratulate them.”
Sinema’s office declined to make her available for an interview. Hannah Hurley, a Sinema spokesperson, acknoWledged the Senator shares of the industrys views on taxation, but rebuffed any suggestion that the donations influenced her thinking.
“Senator Sinema makes every decision based on one criteria: what’s best for Arizona,” Hurley said in a statement. “She has been clear and consistent for over a year that she will only support tax reforms and revenue options that support Arizona’s economic growth and competitiveness.”
Sinema’s defense of the tax provisions offers a jarring contrast to her background as a Green Party activist and self-styled “Prada socialist” who once likened accepting campaign cash to “bribery” and later called for “big corporations & the rich to pay their fair share” shortly before launching her first campaign for Congress in 2012.
The Senate and House passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, now headed to President Joe Biden’s desk, was a win for Democrats and a loss for the people of New Jersey.
Our U.S. senators, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, had a chance to give their constituents tax relief by pushing to have the federal income tax SALT — state-and-local-taxes — deduction raised from the $10,000 cap placed on it and voting “no” on the Inflation Reduction Act unless the cap was increased or removed. The bill that Biden received did neither.
Rather than hold out, the senators chose to get a win for their political party, while making no effort to help the people they represent. On Friday, all House Democrats in New Jersey voted for the bill, after indicating support for it even without a SALT revision.
They could have given much-needed tax relief to the middle class in New Jersey. Instead, they chose their party over the people of the state. They were weak when we needed them to be strong. Many are hiding behind the justification that the bill does not raise taxes on the middle class, as if this were some sort of gift.
Often, offenders with a substance use disorder are sent to prison. They serve their time and, in many cases, are released on parole supervision. Reentering one’s community and familiarizing oneself to parole’s conditions can be challenging.
After seeing far too many situations where parolees with substance use disorder violate their parole conditions, are returned to prison, or are sent to treatment for drug overdoses, the State Parole Board has reaffirmed its commitment to assist these individuals in their recovery.
In December 2021, the board was awarded a $3.2 million federal grant from the Department of Justice for peer-recovery-based services. We have entered a partnership with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) and together, we will closely collaborate to help offenders with substance use disorder.
A Newark firefighter suffered serious injuries after responding to a three-alarm apartment fire at South 16th Street and Clinton Avenue on Saturday afternoon.
Newark firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire on the fourth floor of an occupied four-story residential building, Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé confirmed.