Baucus, left, and Camp are sure to include incentives for startup businesses in their tax rewrites, but the two face a deep partisan split over whether a big bill should help pay for a debt deal or meet the GOP demand of being revenue neutral.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bob Casey, D-Pa., have folded several items from Camp’s to-do list into a $24.7 billion small-business tax package. The bill mirrors Camp’s plan on startup costs, small-business expensing and a higher gross receipts allowance for time-saving cash accounting. It would extend through 2014 50 percent bonus depreciation and the 15-year recovery period for leasehold, retail and restaurant improvements.
“If we come to the end of year, and there isn’t the beginning of consensus on tax reform and it hasn’t reached the point where we’re ready to vote on it, this would be a measure that could garner a lot of bipartisan support,” Casey said.
In the House, centrists in both parties such as Reps. Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin also are backing combinations of incentives for small businesses.
Such bipartisan proposals face pushback from staunch conservatives such as Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a former top executive for a plastics manufacturer. He says that targeted incentives complicate the tax code and divert resources. “I hate Washington trying to micromanage economic activity,” Johnson said.
To allay such concerns and rally support for streamlining, Baucus and Camp have held up stand-alone tax measures. Both decline to discuss fall-back options, while urging action on a big bill.
“We have not seen the job growth that we need to see, either in the large or small business area. We need a comprehensive bill that makes a simpler, flatter, fairer tax code,” Camp said.