Essential reading: L.A. pension proposal would hike retirement age, cut benefits, and more

September 19, 2012

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

 * L.A. pension proposal would hike retirement age, cut benefits. David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum – The Los Angeles Times. Setting the stage for a legal battle with employee unions, the Los Angeles City Council is weighing a new plan to reel in pension costs by hiking the retirement age and cutting benefits for thousands of future civilian employees. The proposal, unveiled the same day that the council backed a three-year business tax break worth roughly $50 million, would set the retirement age at 65 and establish new financial penalties for those who retire earlier. Link  

* IASB warns of reduction in bank lending. Adam Jones – The Financial Times. Banks could be deterred from lending under a new approach to bad loan provisioning being developed in the US, according to the head of the body that sets rival international accounting rules. In another sign of how attempts to create global accounting rules have unraveled, Hans Hoogervorst, International Accounting Standards Board chairman, criticized a more conservative attitude to bank accounting that has gained favor in the US. Link  

* Much of Romney’s view on taxes conflicts with longtime GOP stand. Annie Lowrey and Michael Cooper – The New York Times. On Monday, Mitt Romney waded into an ideological clash pitting two strands of conservative thinking against each other: the longstanding goal of reducing the tax burden on the poor with tax credits versus the growing anxiety that the nation’s “takers” are now overtaking its “makers.” Link

* Some surprises in income-tax-free households. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. More than 40 percent of households between $30,000 and $40,000 paid no income tax in 2011, according to a recent study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. About 30 percent of households in the $40,000 to $50,000 income range had no income tax liability in 2011. Link

* The great American tax debate. Eduardo Porter – The New York Times. The great American tax debate may feel like a stale, perennial feature of our politics. But it is important. The controversy is not merely about how much we pay in taxes. An equally important question is about who pays them. The liberal end of our political spectrum strongly believes that tax policy should aim to reduce inequities in pretax income. Link 

* Taxes over the life cycle. Paul Krugman – The New York Times. Even aside from the fact that there are other taxes besides the income tax, even aside from the larger point that lower-income working Americans are hardly grifters, the fact is that the vast majority of Americans do pay income taxes at some point in their life. Link  

* What Romney might have said. The Wall Street Journal editorial. Most want to be self-sufficient, to provide for their families, but they can’t because there aren’t enough jobs. Americans want to be less dependent on government not because it costs too much. They want to get a good job that pays enough to be self-sufficient and lets them fulfill their human potential. Link

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see