The House pushed through a last-minute measure Wednesday to extend a massive package of expired tax breaksfor banks, investment firms, commuters and NASCAR track owners. The bill would enable millions of businesses and individuals to claim the tax breaks on their 2014 returns. It would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade. The more than 50 tax breaks benefit big corporations and small businesses, as well as teachers and people who live in states without a state income tax. More narrow provisions include tax breaks for filmmakers, racehorse owners and rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) expressed both its appreciation for a fix in the near term, and disappointment in the absence of a longer-term solution. ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser used the opportunity to call on Congress to redouble its efforts to pass a longer-term tax extenders package. “ASA first and foremost supports a long-term extension of several of the items included in today’s short-term fix. These initiatives include the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, expensing for farm equipment and infrastructure under the Section 179 expensing provision, and bonus depreciation on farm assets. Such an approach provides greater certainty and a more stable climate for the farmers and producers who make use of these programs, and we were very disappointed that agreement was not reached on a broader measure. That said, we support the House’s passage of their short-term extension in the absence of a more permanent solution. While it remains only a stopgap measure, we hope that the Senate will take up and pass it quickly. At that point, we urge both chambers to join together and tackle the work of extending these critical tax incentives for the long term.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation said in a statement late Wednesday, “Farmers and ranchers rely on tax provisions that give them the flexibility they need to invest in their businesses and boost their local economies. Farm Bureau is pleased the House has acted to extend several key tax provisions this year. We urge Congress to bring a tax extender package to completion before the year’s end.” They added small business provisions like Section 179 and bonus depreciation increase cash flow, and that lets farmers and ranchers put their money back to work immediately so they can care for their land and animals. They also urged Congress to make the extensions permanent, “We are glad to have these temporary extensions, but we know these issues will come up again. We still need a long-term solution so small businesses can have the certainty they need to plan for the future.”