Bankruptcy Blog: May 5, 2005

|
May 5, 2005 5:21 p.m.

On Monday, I posted a note about the increase in the bankruptcy filing fee from $155 to $200. The increase was supposed to pay for 28 new bankruptcy judges (at a 5-year cost of $25 million) but the government now estimates that the increase will raise an additional $125 million over the next five years. In other words, we have a new tax just for people who are broke.

But the bankruptcy bill started in the Senate, and only the House can impose new taxes. So the House added section 6042 to (of all things) the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act For Defense, The Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, so that Congress could initiate this new tax. The day after I posted my note, the House and Senate Conference on that bill met and raised the Chapter 7 filing fee again by another $20 — to $220. We hear that it will pass this week or next.

Why extract $225 million over five years in general tax revenue from people who are already broke? Are they kicking debtors just because they can? Or is this just another play at the margins — a way to keep the poorest, most desperate families from declaring bankruptcy? Is this one more move to keep bankruptcy available only for the well-to-do?

We know most people go numb over numbers. But this is wrong, and hiding it behind decimal places won’t make it right. Where are the no-new-taxes folks? Where are the help-struggling-families advocates? Let’s gear up again and let our senators and representatives know that this “fix” is whipping families that have already been beaten unconscious.

Introducing
The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Comments
advertisement
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer:
SPECIAL DEAL FOR PAST TPM MEMBERS
40% OFF AN ANNUAL PRIME MEMBERSHIP
REJOIN FOR JUST $30