Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Christmas in October

There’s something for everybody in the $136 billion corporate tax bill that the Senate passed yesterday: tobacco farmers; NASCAR, horse and dog track owners; Hollywood filmmakers; manufacturers of bows and arrows (I didn’t know Robin Hood had a PAC); cruise ship operators; makers of fishing tackle; and, to make it all sound like there’s some good in it, some money for hurricane relief and reconstruction.

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, the bill would also provide these tax breaks:

  • $231 million to finance $2 billion in bonds for four malls, including the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
  • $495 million to allow shipbuilders such as Northrop Grumman to use a different accounting technique; sponsors: Sens. John Breaux, D-La., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
  • $995 million for aircraft leasing and shipping income exemptions.
  • $247 million over five years to help producers of small jets and planes, 60 percent of which are built in Kansas. Beneficiaries include Lear Jet and Cessna; sponsors: Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans.
  • $27 million to farmers who replace livestock because of drought, flood or other weather-related conditions; sponsors: Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Craig Thomas, R-Wyo.
  • $234 million for the distilled spirits, wine and beer industry.
  • $150 million for an Alaska natural gas pipeline.
  • But in all of this they say it’s not going to cost us a dime.

    Despite the $137 billion in tax breaks, the bill officially won’t add to the record federal deficit. It includes various revenue-raising provisions such as customs fee extensions and closes alleged tax “loopholes” worth $81.7 billion over 10 years that together will pay for the bill, making it “revenue neutral.”

    One example: The bill tightens rules that give multinational companies incentives to incorporate overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

    “We’re closing loopholes on tax scams to shelter (multinational companies’) money offshore,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. She called the loophole the “Bermuda Triangle” of the tax code.

    Well, I’d write more about this, but I’m late for my closing on a great real estate deal I’m getting on this little piece of property I found about thirty miles due east of downtown Miami Beach…