This article by Lori Montgomery explains that the Senate Finance Committee met yesterday to try to eliminate up to 75 tax expenditures -- that is, tax deductions, credits, and other give-aways that spend the people's money through the tax code rather than through direct federal spending. As Montgomery explains, though Senators on both sides of the aisle seemed proud that they decided to chop some tax benefits, they largely failed. Here's an excerpt:
It was supposed to be a first step toward tax reform. But as lawmakers tackled a list of 75 special-interest tax breaks, the special interests repeatedly won. An accelerated write-off for owners of NASCAR tracks: That has to stay. An economic development credit for a StarKist tuna cannery in American Samoa: That stays, too. A rum-tax rebate for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands worth millions of dollars a year to one of the world’s largest distillers: Check. A $2,500 credit for electric motorcycles and other low-speed vehicles: That stays. But “in the spirit of tax reform,” its sponsor, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), said he agreed that electric golf carts would no longer be eligible.