'Congress should listen to the nation's brightest business leaders,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign celebrated the re-introduction yesterday evening of the bipartisan Domestic Partner Health Benefits Equity Act (S. 1702 in the 108th Congress), which would eliminate unfair taxes on the health benefits that U.S. businesses voluntarily offer to their employees' domestic partners.
This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to treat those companies and their employees fairly. The current tax code treats domestic partner benefits as income, creating an additional tax burden on both the employees using the benefits and on businesses providing them.
"Congress should listen to the nation's brightest business leaders," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "The strongest businesses in the country offer domestic partner benefits because fair and equitable workplaces are good for the bottom line. Making those benefits unaffordable through additional taxes is bad for business, and it's not fair to employees."
"In this competitive global market, offering equal benefits to all employees helps us attract the best and brightest to work for us. This is a common sense, bottom line issue," said John D. Hassell, director of federal & state government affairs for Hewlett-Packard Company. "I hope that leaders on both sides of the aisle will support strong businesses by supporting this bill."
"Nike has long been committed to diversity and inclusion and strives to treat our employees equally without regard to sexual orientation. We believe the U.S. tax code should do the same," said Brad Figel, Nike's global director of government and public affairs. "We thank Senators Smith and Schumer for recognizing this inequity and we look forward to working with them, other businesses and the Human Rights Campaign to ensure that all employees are treated fairly under the U.S. tax system."
At the end of 2004, roughly 45 percent, or 234 companies, on the Fortune 500 were providing domestic partner coverage - a tenfold increase from 1995, when just 21 Fortune 500 companies offered the coverage. Nationally, at least 8,277 employers voluntarily offer domestic partner benefits for their employees.
"We applaud the leadership of Senators Smith and Schumer on this common-sense bill," said Solmonese. "It's long past time for the tax code to catch up to the work that business leaders have been doing on this issue for years."
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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