Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Senate Panel May Add $69 Billion AMT Plan to Stimulus

From Bloomberg News:

The U.S. Senate’s tax-writing committee might add $69 billion in relief from the alternative- minimum tax to the $825 billion economic stimulus proposal.

The provision benefiting more than 30 million households, primarily with incomes between $100,000 and $500,000, will be considered as an amendment to $272 billion in tax cuts being drafted today by the Senate Finance Committee as part of the broader stimulus plan.

Inclusion of alternative-minimum tax relief would swell the stimulus plan’s tax cuts, which so far are anchored to President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to give workers a tax cut of up to $1,000 by reducing Social Security payroll taxes. The Obama administration urged exclusion of the AMT provision when the House drafted its stimulus bill, House Ways and Means Committee Charles Rangel said last week.

Obama visited the Capitol today to seek support for the legislation from House and Senate Republicans. Before his arrival, House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor urged rank-and-file members at a closed-door meeting to vote against the plan unless more tax relief is added, said a Republican leadership aide.

The AMT amendment is one of as many as 226 under consideration for the tax legislation, which would ease tax burdens on businesses by $128.1 billion this year and next. Another part of the bill would let companies convert losses into tax refunds and provide new relief from taxes due on the value of forgiven corporate debt.

“Today we once again live in times that require action,” Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana said as his panel began deliberations. “If we do not act, employment will fall by more than 2 percent in 2009.”

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