CHN: House Leaders Look to Make Permanent Business Tax Breaks; No Action Yet on Low-Income Tax Credits
On September 17, the House Ways and Means Committee, headed by Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), passed five bills to make permanent several tax breaks, mostly for corporations. The largest break, which lets corporations more quickly write off investments (known as ‘bonus depreciation’), would cost $280 billion over the next 10 years. The other four bills together cost an additional $131 billion over 10 years. The tax breaks, known as “tax extenders” in Washington because they have repeatedly been extended on a temporary basis, expired at the end of 2014. According the The Hill and CQ, Chairman Ryan and House GOP leaders may be looking to include some of these and other extenders previously passed by the Ways and Means Committee and by the full House in a bill that would pay for transportation or transit projects that could not be covered solely by the depleted Highway Trust Fund. The current highway funding bill will expire at the end of October (for more on the Highway Trust Fund, see the August 3rd Human Needs Report). Democrats have noted that all of the bills Republicans have put forward to make tax breaks permanent would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt.
Neither the House nor the Senate has yet taken action on tax credits for low-income workers and their families. If improvements made in 2009 to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are allowed to expire in 2017, 16 million Americans – including 8 million children – will fall into poverty or become more deeply poor. Data released by the Census Bureau in September show that these two low-income tax credits lifted more than 10 million people – and more than 5 million children – out of poverty in 2014. Advocates have been insisting that these tax credits should be the priority for Congressional action, and some members of Congress and the Administration have agreed that there should be no permanent tax breaks for businesses without making the improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent as well.