Just in time for the Election. Boo-hiss to the Senate!
The Senate on Monday approved $137 billion in tax breaks for corporations and special interests over 10 years. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the measure the "worst example of the influence of the special interests I have ever seen." To win support from tobacco-state lawmakers, tax writers included a $10 billion industry-financed buyout for tobacco farmers. That provision drew heated bipartisan criticism from Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, who’d sought to make the buyout contingent upon Federal Drug Administration regulation of tobacco products. They lost.
President Bush is expected to sign the bill before Election Day.
Some of the stranger provisions include:
NASCAR track owners won a break worth $101 million for grandstand expenses.
$234 million for the distilled spirits, wine and beer industry.
Archery-gear makers, fishing tackle-box makers and foreign gamblers all would benefit, too. The bill would give a $27 million tax break to encourage foreigners to gamble at U.S. horse and dog racetracks and $9 million in tax breaks to U.S. makers of bows and arrows. One provision would reduce excise taxes from 10 percent to 3 percent on fishing tackle boxes. A major beneficiary is Plano Molding Co. of Illinois, which is headquartered in Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s district. The cost to taxpayers is $11 million, according to the budget watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
$495 million to allow shipbuilders such as Northrop Grumman to use a different accounting technique; sponsors: Sens. John Breaux, D-La., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
$995 million for aircraft leasing and shipping income exemptions.
$247 million over five years to help producers of small jets and planes, 60 percent of which are built in Kansas. Beneficiaries include Lear Jet and Cessna; sponsors: Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans.