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US Minimum Wage Hike, Tax Breaks Included In Senate Bill

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

02 April 2007


Emergency spending legislation passed by the US Senate last week also contains provisions increasing the minimum wage and providing offsetting tax relief for small business.

Tax provisions spearheaded by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) were added to the Senate’s original minimum wage and tax incentives legislation, which was attached to the spending bill by unanimous consent.

Baucus said that adding the Senate measure to the supplemental spending bill should kick-start negotiations with the House on a final wage and tax package, where considerable differences regarding the tax element of the proposals remain.

“America’s workers are waiting for their pay raise. The supplemental spending bill may hit some hurdles, but it’s the fastest train rolling through Dodge right now and it’s the place to move forward on minimum wage,” remarked Baucus.

“This should move the House and Senate to hammer out a final agreement that’s right for workers and fair to the small businesses that employ them. Bottom line, this should help us get a pay hike on the ground for workers soon," he added.

New tax provisions in the Grassley-Baucus amendment to the supplemental spending bill include extended depreciation and cost recovery provisions to help businesses recoup costs for new equipment, expansion of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for employers in rural US counties where the workforce is declining, and additional tax relief for businesses in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Minimum wage increase legislation passed the Senate in February after Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee approved tax incentives targeted toward small businesses that employ minimum wage workers. These tax breaks total $8.3 billion.


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