Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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Senate considering $85 billion in tax breaks

Dean Heller

Dean Heller

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

If there’s one thing Congress can come together on, it’s tax breaks for constituents.

This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is attempting to push through legislation that extends more than 50 tax breaks that affect Nevada residents, including a two-year extension on tax breaks for homeowners who have refinanced their mortgages.

Nevadans have a lot at stake in the $85 billion legislation. “This bill will really help Nevada significantly,” Reid said in a call Tuesday with reporters.

In an era in which earmarking federal funds for projects in a lawmaker’s district is shunned and passing comprehensive legislation is almost impossible, tax credits are an important tool for lawmakers looking to please constituents.

Tax credits for homeowners refinancing their mortgages or selling their homes in short sales have been extended twice now, and Reid hopes this week will mark a third time.

On the business side, the legislation calls for extending tax credits for companies investing in renewable energy through 2015 and extending deductions on state and local sales taxes.

The bill also proposes $2,600 in tax credits for businesses who hire long-term unemployed Americans.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is in line with Reid on the tax breaks. He has said he would also like to see an amendment that extends federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

But the bipartisan bill is still a long way from becoming law.

While House Republicans are on board with much of the legislation, the White House and some tea party Republicans have formed an odd-couple opposition to the bill because it adds to the deficit.

​The Senate will debate it this week.

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