Friday, December 10, 2010

Even a Tax Bill Gets Loaded Up

Some people ask me "If you're registered independent, why do you align yourself with Republicans?" Well, I consider myself a common sense conservative. I believe there a few things the government should do, and a lot it shouldn't do. If Republicans start screwing up, I'll let you know.

The only reason I bring that up is due to the current mess going on in DC with the tax bill. This is not just a bill to keep the Bush era tax cuts in place. It also includes all kinds of tax credits for just about every industry you can think of. The same industries that received tax breaks/credits via TARP in 2008 are set to receive additional corporate welfare. From the

Remember all of those special interest tax breaks in the 2008 TARP bill?

- Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
- Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
- Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
- American Samoa (Sec. 309)
- Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
- Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
- Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
- Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
- Railroads (Sec. 316)
- Auto Racing Tracks (317)
- District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
- Wool Research (Sec. 325)

Many of them are back. Although I'm not sure yet whether the "research credit" is for "wool research."

-Research credit.
-Indian employment tax credit.
-New markets tax credit.
-Railroad track maintenance credit.
-Mine rescue team training credit.
-7-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes.
-Accelerated depreciation for business property on an Indian reservation.
-Election to expense mine safety equipment.
-Special expensing rules for certain film and television productions.
-Expensing of environmental remediation costs.
-Deduction allowable with respect to income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.
-Tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia.
-Temporary increase in limit on cover over of rum excise taxes to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
-American Samoa economic development credit.

As much as I am for keeping the lower tax rates, this bill is starting to look like a bloated project from the start. This type of legal maneuvering is exactly why I do not claim a party. As much as the Democrats can be blamed for social welfare, Republicans can be on the hook for corporate welfare. If I make a film or movie that falls into certain guidelines under this "tax" bill, I can get tax deductions and credits. Incentives for DC? I thought that was every day Congress was in session. Hey, you even get a little something extra if you hire a Native American.

Even the tax credits, which is what this bill should be about, are only temporary. I understand the GOP wants to extend the tax rates, but this is not just about extending the tax rates. We're going to be right back where we started in a few months, haggling over something that should have been taken care of permanently the first time around. One of the only reasons the GOP comes out looking good is because Obama called them "hostage takers" over their refusal to back down on this, never mind that Obama and Congress knew when these tax cuts would expire the moment they were signed into law by Dubya and were just getting to this a month before they expire.

Now we're stuck with a bad bill loaded with bad provisions that got thought up over a two week span and will probably debated for a few days then signed into law. It's like a "shotgun wedding," political style. Obama, in being the moderate he promised to be - albeit two years two late, was in favor of extending the tax cuts but the new bill had to be loaded up to entice Democrats to support it.

I'm glad the two parties were able to work together to get a bill everyone is happy with. Unfortunately, this bill is not going to help anyone except for more special interest groups and is another example of bad legislation coming from Washington, DC and BOTH parties.

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