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Public Statements

Tax Extenders Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, D.C.

Tax Extenders Act Of 2009


Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009. This bill extends several badly needed tax provisions that will continue to provide economic benefits to struggling families and businesses. While these temporary, last-minute patches are not the preferred means of action for anyone, this action is better than none, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

Passage of this bill will ensure that individuals already facing the worst economic situation in decades will retain the ability to deduct state and local taxes, preventing a $3.3 billion tax increase. It also extends the deduction that students receive for tuition payments and the credit teachers receive for stocking their classrooms out of their own pocket. both are essential for making a quality education accessible to all.

For businesses, this bill will extend the invaluable R&D tax credit so they can continue to invest in the innovation that will keep America competitive in the industries of today and tomorrow. I have long advocated making this credit permanent so companies can make it a permanent part of their business plans. I hope we will do that as part of overall tax reform starting next year.

Other provisions important to my district in Western Wisconsin include the Conservation Easement Credit, which gives individuals an incentive to protect environmentally important
land in perpetuity, and the extension of a 5-year depreciation period for farm and agricultural equipment. This extended period has been highly successful in spurring capital improvements on the farm and improving farm output and efficiency.

Finally, I am particularly pleased that this bill extends a provision I authored last year that provides tax relief to families and businesses who are impacted by natural disasters. Following devastating floods in my district in 2007 and 2008, it became clear to me that more tools were needed to assist individuals and businesses to recover. The tax relief provided here offers a more systematic and fair method than the previous system of ad hoc assistance on a case-by-case basis. I thank Chairman Rangel and the rest of the committee for including it in the extenders package today.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that all of these benefits are completely paid for, meaning this bill will not add one dime to the deficit. In fact, one of the ways we pay for this bill is by cracking down on foreign bank accounts, where millionaires have been hiding their fortunes from the IRS for years. This type of enforcement has been sorely lacking. It is unfortunate, however, that the bulk of revenue for this bill will come from higher taxation of venture capital funds that have been leaders in spurring job growth and innovation. I sincerely wish we had been able to find an alternative revenue source that would not raise taxes on these entrepreneurs at the exact time when we need them the most. Twice before the Senate has rejected this pay-for, and I hope they will do so again.

On balance, Mr. Speaker, this is a critically important piece of legislation before us that will prevent disastrous consequences in this fragile economic environment. I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting its passage today.


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