Citizens for Tax Justice’s Bob McIntyre points out that the White House’s $150 billion price tag on Obama’s one-year tax cut extension only appears to include part of the total cost — the income tax cuts. Obama’s own 2013 budget includes two other provisions as well: a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax and relief from scheduled estate tax hikes, which are both separate from the standard income tax. “The only way that the White House can claim a cost of ‘only’ $150 billion or so would be to leave out part of the president’s proposal,” says Bob McIntyre, CTJ’s director.
If a one-year extension of the AMT patch and the Bush estate tax cuts were included, they would “add about $80 billion to the size of the one-year tax cut, on top of the $160 billion+ that we estimate the rest of the extensions would cost,” McIntyre continues. That brings the total cost of Obama’s plan to $243 billion. By comparison, the GOP’s proposal to have full extension of all tax provisions—the Bush income and estate tax cuts, along with AMT relief — would cost $311 billion for 2013. Extending tax breaks to everyone earning up to $1 million would cost $271 billion, the CTJ says.