Tax Reform to Take Back Seat in State of the Union; Employer Must Pay Workers' Comp for Concurrent Job

Experts Say Tax Reform Will Take Backseat in Obama’s State of the Union Address
The Hill
by Bernie Becker
President Obama made some glancing nods toward tax reform in his State of the Union address in 2011. And a year later, tax observers from both sides of the aisle say not to expect much more this time around. To be sure, the president is expected on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to hammer out a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, which White House officials have called a top priority for 2012. And with the recent revelations that Mitt Romney, his could-be rival this fall, pays around a 15% effective tax rate, Obama could also continue to make the case that the wealthy need to pay their fair share in taxes. (Continued.)

Employer Must Pay Workers' Compensation for Concurrent Job
Workforce Management
by Sheena Harrison
A public works department must pay workers' compensation benefits based on a worker's departmental job, plus another job he held on the side, according to a New York appellate court. William Thomas worked as a light equipment operator for the Warren County Department of Public Works when he was injured in 2009. Court records show that Thomas also was employed by a janitorial service at that time. Under New York workers' comp law, the department was required to pay benefits to Thomas based on his average weekly wages from "all concurrent employments." (Continued.)

House Too Chicken for Chicken?
by Scott Wong and Seung Min Kim
On one side, Democrats are pushing a millionaires’ surtax reviled by the GOP. On the other, Republicans want to reverse President Barack Obama’s decision last week rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Sound familiar? The opening shots of the 2012 payroll tax debate seem to show that neither side learned much from last year’s tumultuous eleventh-hour breakthrough on this issue, so the parties have opened the new year by firing the doomed partisan proposals at one another. (Continued.)