Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree supported the Tax Extenders Act of 2009, which extends tax relief provisions for the middle class and business to help spur job growth. The legislation will extend for another year over $30 billion worth of tax breaks, including property tax relief for up to 30 million homeowners and will help 4.5 million families better afford college with a tuition deduction.
"This is about fundamental fairness and getting our economic priorities straight," Pingree said. "Today we voted to extend tax cuts for hard working families and paid for those tax breaks by cracking down on offshore tax shelters and closing the loophole that has let private equity and hedge fund managers get a tax break they don't deserve and certainly don't need. These are exactly the kind of changes I've long argued for."
The bill passed today will extend a $250 tax deduction for teachers who pay for school expenses out of their own pockets and extends a will extend a tax deduction for college tuition and other educational expenses. Those deductions are "above the line" provisions, which means that tax payers do not have to itemize their tax return to get the benefit. The bill also includes a provision that allows home and property owners who do take the standard deduction to claim up to an additional $1,000 in deductions for property tax paid.
Also included in the bill was a provision that allows restaurants and retail operations to write off expenses over an accelerated 15 year period, extends tax breaks for R & D and extends a tax break for farm equipment.
The tax breaks are paid for by closing a loophole that allows private equity and hedge fund managers to pay taxes on income at the substantially lower capital gains tax rate instead of at a normal income tax rate. The legislation also gives the Treasury Department more tools to find and prosecute U.S. citizens who hide assets overseas.
Congresswoman Pingree had previously cosponsored legislation to extend tax breaks for conservation easement and railroad track maintenance--provisions that were included in the legislation passed by the House today.