Baucus defends tax credits in 'fiscal cliff' legislation

2013-01-11T05:45:00Z 2013-01-28T20:14:16Z Baucus defends tax credits in 'fiscal cliff' legislationBy MIKE DENNISON Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA – Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., on Thursday defended the slew of corporate and personal tax credits stuffed into the “fiscal cliff” legislation last week, saying it was a bipartisan package worked out last summer.

Baucus, speaking to reporters after he addressed the Montana Legislature, said the Senate Finance Committee, which he chairs, actually voted to get rid of some tax credits while it agreed to support extending many others.

“I got the committee together, Republicans and Democrats, and said let’s work together and said, ‘We’ve got to get rid of these,’ ” he said. “That was a package that included tens of billions of dollars in reductions (of tax credits) over a 10-year period.”

But the package also extended for a year about 50 tax credits, estimated to cost the U.S. Treasury some $64 billion.

The tax credits benefited families with children, families with kids in college, low-income families and businesses that hire veterans.

But they also included things like the “active financing exception,” which allows businesses that earn interest on overseas lending to defer taxes on those earnings indefinitely. Corporate giants like General Electric and Citigroup are big beneficiaries.

Other recipients of extended tax breaks included new auto racetracks, rum-makers in Puerto Rico, biodiesel producers, film studios and, more closer to home in Montana, wind-energy projects.

The tax breaks, included in the bill that froze federal income-tax rates for most citizens, raised rates on income over $400,000 and raised Social Security payroll taxes, have come under scrutiny and criticism in recent days in news outlets like the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and the Chicago Tribune.

The Senate Finance Committee met last August and put together the package and approved it on a 19-5 vote. The legislation didn’t move at that time, because the Republican-controlled House wasn’t expected to approve it.

However, it made it into the fiscal-cliff legislation last week, apparently supported by the White House.

Baucus said Thursday there are some credits in the package that “I’m not happy with,” but declined to say which ones.

He noted that many of the credits have been on the books for years – “this is nothing new” – and said those that were extended for another year will likely face scrutiny when and if Congress tackles broader federal tax reform this year.

“The main thing is to keep our eye on the ball here,” he said, noting the positive elements of the fiscal-cliff legislation, such as making permanent the current income-tax rates for most citizens and a high exemption on estate income.

Baucus also defended the bill’s increase of Social Security payroll taxes to the same level as two years ago.

“It’s a tradeoff,” he said. “Most Montanans want a strong Social Security Trust Fund, too. … To keep the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund, it’s important to keep that tax.”

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(7) Comments

  1. Matthew Koehler
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    Matthew Koehler - January 11, 2013 9:34 am

    See also: Max Baucus rewards ex-staffers with tax breaks for their clients

  2. Raging Bull
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    Raging Bull - January 11, 2013 8:56 am
    You can thank Max for reviving Teddycare and turning it into Obamacare. Rest assured he will continue to sell Montana down the river along. Max only cares about Max ! Tester is no different ...just another Obamabot !! Wake up Montana !!!!!!
  3. Roger
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    Roger - January 11, 2013 8:52 am

    Almost unbelievable - wasting more taxpayer money on failed wind turbines that pollute the landscape and kill birds, and continuing the special favors for big business. This is why the country is in serious trouble.

  4. Deadwolf
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    Deadwolf - January 11, 2013 8:06 am

    Baucus is in complete disconnect with Montanans and completely connected to the insider establishment in DC. Doubt it? Watch what he does with the Second Amendment in the coming weeks.

  5. walter12
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    walter12 - January 11, 2013 7:18 am

    Baucus can see the writing on the wall. He is going to retire in 2016. Here is a guy who has gotten very rich in the Senate, and at the same time being a stooge for this Obama monster. He wants it both ways. He will not win again in 2016, and people are finally beginning to see what a monster and tyrant Obama is, a little late though.

  6. MTnative92
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    MTnative92 - January 11, 2013 6:26 am
    of course he defends the corporations. he is one of them! term limits!
  7. hellgatenights
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    hellgatenights - January 10, 2013 11:31 pm
    The Senate Finance Committee met last August and put together the package and approved it on a 19-5 vote. The legislation didn’t move at that time, because the Republican-controlled House wasn’t expected to approve it.

    However, it made it into the fiscal-cliff legislation last week, apparently supported by the White House.

    In other words.....'ol Max here waited for a absolute "emergency" to cram down the billions in tax breaks for his big money friends, knowing they could not "Debate" the matter on the floor because there was no time.

    Question: Why do you suppose democrats pushed the fiscal cliff to the very edge in the first place?

    Question: Why was Max and Tester taking photo ops in Montana in December when the fiscal nightmare was ready to blow in Washington.

    Answer: Because you meatheads voted them in for 6 years. Nice work progressives.

    Max was silent here on the billions for wind farms too.....basically, Max doesn't like it if you ask tough"Did you read the Bill" or "Why did you vote for obamacare when we didn't want it and you had not read the bill?
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