TAX EXTENDERS -- (Senate - September 23, 2008)
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the taxpayer can claim a major accomplishment today. At a time of high economic anxiety, this tax relief extension bill we will be voting on later today encourages greater energy independence and delivers much needed relief to job creators across the country and ensures a much smaller tax bill for millions of American families.
The Senate had been deadlocked on the provisions contained in this bill for a number of months, but in the end, Senators on both sides of the aisle shut out the partisan rancor of the Presidential election, hammered out a compromise, and delivered. The result is a tribute to all the Senators and many staffers on both sides who worked so hard to get us to this point.
This legislation does a number of good things:
It blocks the alternative minimum tax from hitting about 20 million middle-class American families, including 137,000 in Kentucky, from an average tax hike of about $2,000, and it doesn't raise taxes to do it.
It helps American families who are struggling to cover the high cost of a college education by giving single parents and married couples a deduction of between $2,000 and $4,000 for college tuition payments through 2009.
Teachers will continue to get a valuable deduction for educational expenses.
Research and development, the heart of future growth, is also encouraged.
At a time of record-high energy prices, this bill contains a number of incentives for increasing the use of clean energy and decreasing our dependence on Middle East oil. It extends a tax credit for companies that produce renewable energy from wind, solar, and biomass. Domestic carmakers get a new tax credit for investing in plug-in electric cars and trucks. Families that build energy-efficient homes will see substantial savings on their utility bills when they buy energy-efficient freezers, dishwashers, and other energy-efficient, common household appliances. And refineries that process shale or tar sands will also see help--a critical new step in expanding domestic energy exploration and development.
From a Kentucky standpoint, I recently met with a group of business leaders from west Kentucky who are pursuing a coal-to-liquids refinery in Paducah that could lead to more than 1,100 new jobs for Kentuckians. They viewed extension of the expiring tax incentives for refinery construction as an incredible economic development tool and an important step toward energy independence by using abundant Kentucky coal. And I was happy to help.
Taken together, the tax extenders in this bill amount to more than $100 billion in tax relief for America's workers and job-creating businesses, and they provide much needed certainties for a nation that has faced enough uncertainty in recent weeks by ensuring that this relief stays in place through next year.
This bill was not easy to complete. Both sides had to make major concessions to get a good result. But this is how the Senate works. With this bill, it worked very well, and both sides can take credit. This tax relief will help the American people at a moment when they can truly use the help.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
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