Quick Hit Josh Kalven Thursday April 22nd, 2010, 10:56am

Payroll Taxes Become A Campaign Issue

Yesterday, Greg Hinz of Crain's reported that, accordiing to first quarter campaign finance disclosures, many Republican campaigns in Illinois are paying their workers as contractors rather than full-time employees.  Why does this matter?  Hinz explains:

[W]hen someone is an employee, they and their employer split the Social Security tax. But when someone is an independent contractor, the employer pays nothing and the worker pays 150% of what they'd normally owe.

As an example, Hinz noted that Democratic 10th Congressional District candidate Dan Seals had "reported paying more than $30,000 in payroll taxes through January" while his GOP rival Robert Dold "paid nothing."  Within hours, Seals had a release out slamming his Dold on the issue: “My opponent owes voters an explanation as to why he has failed to pay thousands in taxes for his campaign employees, leaving hard-working Illinois taxpayers holding the bag.”

The payroll issue may also surface in the hotly-contested 11th and 14th congressional districts, where the Republican challengers have similarly avoided paying payroll taxes up to this point. (UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Gov. Quinn has also called out GOP gubernatorial challenger Bill Brady on this issue.)

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