Make us your home page
Instagram

Tax bill includes lucrative credits

WASHINGTON — A host of industries, from Caribbean distilleries to Hollywood producers, would gain billions in tax breaks and other subsidies under compromise tax-cut legislation now moving its way through Congress.

The $858 billion package approved by the Senate on Wednesday is focused primarily on continuing the Bush administration tax cuts for two years, extending unemployment benefits and other large-scale expenditures. But buried inside the legislation are more than $55 billion in other giveaways and tax reductions for some of Washington's most influential industry groups.

Here are some examples:

• Energy and agricultural industries, for example, would continue to receive a generous ethanol tax credit at a cost to taxpayers of about $6 billion in 2011. The 45-cents-per-gallon credit goes to fuel blenders — including large oil and gas companies such as Shell — which count it against income tax owed to the United States.

• U.S. technology companies such as Microsoft would continue to benefit from a credit for research and development carried out in the United States, costing taxpayers about $6 billion.

• Rum makers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands would get another two-year extension of excise tax credits for their products ($235 million).

• Movie and television producers would enjoy special deduction rules for U.S.-based projects ($162 million).

• Owners of NASCAR tracks and other motorsports facilities would benefit from two more years of a tax policy making it cheaper for them to fund capital projects. Estimated cost to taxpayers: $40 million.

Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, said many of the breaks had stalled under House rules aimed at ensuring that new spending is paid for with cuts or revenues. But the push for tax-cut legislation, he said, has "opened up the floodgates."

"Most of these are sweeteners that don't get vetted or re-evaluated," Ellis said. "They're just sort of on autopilot."

The group is particularly critical of the ethanol provision, which has cost taxpayers more than $21 billion since 2006. The Government Accountability Office recently concluded that the credit has had little impact in encouraging ethanol use or production, especially since the government already mandates rising levels of ethanol use in gasoline and protects the corn ethanol industry through tariffs.

"This tax credit is really just lining people's pockets," Ellis said.

Tax bill includes lucrative credits 12/16/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 16, 2010 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  5. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]