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Federal

First item on Charlie Crist’s new Congress to-do list — preserve Social Security

Crist’s first bill seeks to keep Social Security solvent until 2064.

First thing U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist did in the 116th Congress — reintroduce his Save Social Security Act, which calls for reforms to the system and preserve benefits for another generation.

Crist filed the bill this week.

The proposal would eliminate the Social Security tax cap for people earning more than $300,000. Under current law, anyone making more than $127,200 annually does not have to pay Social Security tax above that limit.

Under Crist’s bill, people earning between the current cap and $300,000 would still receive that tax break, but those making more than $300,000 would pay Social Security tax on their entire earnings.

“Why should the very wealthiest get a tax break, when nurses, electricians, and clerks at Publix pay into the system on 100 percent of their earnings,” Crist wrote in an op-ed when he first filed the bill in 2017.

The Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration released an analysis of Crist’s bill in 2017 that found its terms would extend Social Security solvency by 30 years, allowing the program to meet its financial obligations through 2064. After 2064, the legislation would close two-thirds of the remaining gap enabling the program to pay 90 percent of benefits.

Under the program now, younger professionals paying into the system could risk not receiving all of their benefits when they retire.

Crist’s measure would also end what he describes as a nonsensical practice of “double taxation” on Social Security benefits. Under the current program, Social Security recipients pay taxes on their benefits even though they were taxed to create those benefits while they were working.

Crist filed the bill Tuesday in the U.S. House, and it was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Crist’s first effort died for lack of support during the previous Congress, which was controlled by Republicans. 

While the new Congress is under Democratic control and the bill might now earn more support, it still faces a challenge in both the Republican-controlled Senate and White House.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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