Wonky

Lobbyists For Payroll Processing Firms Want Year-Long Extension

House Republicans got support for their position that Congress pass a year-long extension of the payroll tax holiday from those with a particular dog in the fight — the companies that process all that payroll data.

The National Payroll Reporting Consortium and American Payroll Association, which represent the companies that churn out billions of paychecks and stubs for U.S. workers, complain that a two-month extension of the payroll tax would be a processing nightmare.

Bloomberg News reported:

Payroll companies can react quickly to a yearlong extension for the first paycheck of 2012 or adjust the second paycheck to correct problems, said Pete Isberg, president of the National Payroll Reporting Consortium, an industry group. Payroll providers still don't like a second consecutive year of December tax law changes or the Senate-backed two-month extension of the tax cut that could create unprecedented complications.

"Payroll people feel like their concerns are not heard at the congressional level sometimes," said Mike O'Toole, who oversees government relations at the American Payroll Association. "Or else, Congress wouldn't even consider something like a two-month extension that in the end is going to cost companies more money to pay for reprogramming systems."

At least part of Congress is definitely listening to the payroll processors. Speaker John Boehner's office did a blast email of the Bloomberg story. Meanwhile, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor waved a copy of a letter the NPRC sent to the Senate Finance Committee.

Indeed, the NPRC letter appears to be part of the Republican talking points. Rep. Allen West, a fresman Republican from Florida, quoted from the NPRC letter during his CNN interview.

The Senate on Saturday passed with an 89-vote majority a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut which is supported by the White House.

Members of the House GOP want a year-long extension in part because they'd rather not have another fight over extending the payroll tax holiday during the 2012 election year.

House Republicans wanted the Democratic Party-controlled Senate which had already left town to return to Washington to negotiate with them on a year-long extension. But Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and Senate majority leader, has so far said he won't call the Senate back in.

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