The fiscal cliff is rapidly approaching for America’s seniors and millions of taxpayers across the nation. Congress adjourned in September without preventing the multiple tax increases scheduled for Jan. 1. Unless Congress acts immediately after the November election, the crippling effects of Washington’s procrastination will be felt across our entire economy.
Floridians should be especially concerned about one particular tax increase that will fall disproportionately on seniors.
Beginning next year, tax rates will soar on investment income from capital gains and dividends. The top tax rate on capital gains will jump from 15 to 23.8 percent and the top rate on dividends will nearly triple from 15 to 43.4 percent.
Millions of seniors would feel the pain of these higher rates immediately.
Given the low rates on interest-bearing investments, many older investors have turned to dividend-paying stocks to supplement their income.
And those dividend distributions have been growing. According to a J.P. Morgan study, total dividend distributions jumped from $340 billion in 2008 to about $680 billion in 2011.
Higher taxes on private investment would not only reduce returns for investors, but also make it more difficult for many companies to create jobs and increase the value we deliver to our customers. At NextEra Energy, under current tax policy, we’ve been able to raise the capital necessary to invest billions of dollars in our infrastructure over the last several years.
These investments deliver major benefits for our customers. At Florida Power & Light Co., our investments help keep reliability high and bills low over the long term. At NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, our investments help bring the benefits of renewable energy to customers in more than 20 states.
The good news is that Congress still has time to act, and we still have the opportunity to make our voices heard.
NextEra Energy has joined with other companies across our industry and the nation to encourage more people to send our leaders a clear message: Now is not the time to reduce dividend income through higher taxes and punish Americans who invest in our nation’s future.
Everyone who wants to help can join our advocacy campaign at defendmydividend.org.
Together we can stop tax increases on all investors, including millions of seniors, as well as prevent further barriers to job creation and economic growth.
Lew Hay, executive chairman, NextEra Energy, Inc.,