Business Groups: Tax Cuts Not Worth Offsets in Extenders Bill

Posted May 24, 2010 at 3:53pm

In a sign of mounting business opposition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday came out against a tax extenders bill that the House is expected to consider this week.

Chamber officials decided that the benefits of the tax breaks included in the bill were undercut by the offsets that Democratic leadership opted to use to pay for the lost revenue.

“While the Chamber believes the economy needs an extension of expired provisions, we believe that this legislation will do more harm than good,” Bruce Josten, the chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, said in a statement.

Josten said the revenue raisers in the bill “will hinder job creation, decrease the competitiveness of American businesses, and deter economic growth.”

The legislation provides for an extension of some expired tax breaks, such as one for companies doing research and development, endorsed by the chamber and other business groups.

But to raise revenue it would also change tax policy in a number of areas, such as limiting corporations’ ability to use foreign tax credits and requiring that “carried interest” earned by venture capitalists and other investors be taxed a higher rate.

The bill would also increase the tax on oil production to fund the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is likely to be depleted because of claims from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Some business lobbyists are hoping that the legislation can be changed — if not in the House, then in the Senate, where Democrats will need at least one Republican to break any filibuster.

Dorothy Coleman, vice president for tax and domestic economic policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said that while her group backed the tax extenders, “we’re very concerned about the revenue raisers.”

She said that even if the House approves the bill, her group will turn to the Senate. “This won’t be the last stop,” she said of NAM’s efforts in the House.

“We will redouble our efforts to get rid of the revenue raisers.”