Senate Finance to Once Again Reconsider Expired Tax Incentives
July 20, 2015
The Senate Finance Committee will consider dozens of expired tax incentives on Tuesday, as Congress starts up its semi-regular routine of restoring the preferences retroactively. Dozens of tax breaks expired at the end of last year, just weeks after lawmakers clinched a deal to restore them for 2014. The expired tax breaks include incentives for individuals, businesses, and the energy sector.
• The Senate Finance Committee will consider dozens of expired tax incentives on Tuesday, as Congress starts up its semi-regular routine of restoring the preferences retroactively. On Friday, finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), unveiled a package to restore more than 50 expired tax breaks for two years, with a price tag of some $95.6 billion over a decade. Dozens of tax breaks expired at the end of last year, just weeks after lawmakers clinched a deal to restore them for 2014. The expired tax breaks include incentives for individuals, businesses, and the energy sector. [The Hill]
• The Obama administration’s proposal to expand eligibility for overtime pay is designed to boost what workers earn, but some economists and businesses say it will more likely add to the number of low-paid workers. The revamped regulation would make about 4.6 million more workers eligible for overtime pay. Salaried employees earning less than $50,400 annually, or about $970 a week – more than double the current salary cap – would be eligible for time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours a week. The average annual wage for all U.S. workers last year was $47,230, the Labor Department said. Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the rule change would ensure lower-paid salaried workers are “part of the middle class.” But some businesses are contemplating strategies that would run counter to that effort. Rather than increase the total compensation of salaried managers, companies could limit the hours of higher-paid employees by using more part-time workers. The Labor Department is taking public comment on its proposal, after which it should issue a final rule. Implementation isn’t expected until next year. [WSJ]
• Lockheed Martin Corp. agreed to pay $9 billion for Sikorsky Aircraft and announced plans to shed many commercial and government businesses to refocus its role as the world’s largest defense company by revenue. The planned purchase of Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp. will add the world’s largest military helicopter maker to its lineup of combat jets, missiles, and intelligence services. The move will dilute the growing reliance on sales from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is expected to be declared combat-ready as early as this week after years of delays and cost overruns. [WSJ]
Economic Indicators & News
• Greece reopened its banks and started the repayment process in the first signs of a return to normalcy after last week’s bailout deal. Customers lined up outside bank branches for their first opening in three weeks after they were closed to save the system from collapsing under a flood of withdrawals. Limits on withdrawals still remain, and increases in the value added tax established under the bailout terms also took effect, with VAT on food and public transport jumping to 23 percent from 13 percent. The stock market remains closed until further notice. [MSN]