Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hey 110th, where are with the minimum wage increase?

In general it appears that many Republicans are on board with a minimum wage bill that includes certain tax incentives. Why, then, hasn't the bill yet been able to make its way through Congress? Here's the answer:

Aides to some House leaders say they would be willing to allow some of the tax breaks. But others, including Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, are insisting that they will not concede any tax cuts.

House Democrats say that by forcing a vote on a clean bill they would force Senate Republicans to put themselves on record as opposing a wage increase, which was a popular campaign issue in the midterm elections.

“We are still operating on the assumption or hope that the Senate will pass a clean minimum wage bill,” said Stacey F. Bernards, a spokeswoman for Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic leader. “If it doesn’t happen, it’s because a minority of Republicans held it up. It’s their fault.”

Ok, so let me get this strait - certain Democrats are holding up the bill so that they can win a couple of political points against Republicans? Come on! Stop wasting our time and pass the bill with the tax incentives. These incentives seem entirely legit:

Among the tax breaks would be a five-year extension of the credit provided to employers who hire people who have traditionally had trouble finding jobs, as well as a tax credit for hiring veterans disabled in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks; an extension through March 31, 2008, of a provision that allows businesses to deduct the cost of improvements to leased properties more quickly; and a permanent change to the tax code allowing small businesses to use the cash method of accounting.

The Senate Committee on Finance, which approved the small business tax breaks in the package being voted on, said the cuts would be covered by closing tax loopholes for companies and executives.

Time to turn the question on you, Mr. Rangel: Which of these incentives are YOU opposing?

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