Washington – After a lot of wrangling and a veto threat from the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives finally voted on Wednesday for a bill that would extend dozens of tax breaks—with the support of the entire Connecticut House delegation.
The “extender” bill would renew about 55 tax breaks that are not a permanent part of the tax code and are set to expire at the end of the year, including a research and development credit that helps dozens of Connecticut businesses and another that allows corporations to write off costs of new capital and equipment investments.
The extenders include tax breaks for school teachers’ supply costs and energy-efficient appliances, college tuition, charitable contributions from retirement accounts and production credits for wind energy.
Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District said he voted for the package because it would restore a provision that lets commuters deduct up to $245 each month from their pre-tax paychecks to cover mass-transit costs and drivers as much as $250 per month for parking expenses.
“With the expense of commuting continuing to rise, this commuter tax benefit has become even more critical for Fairfield County residents, who already face a high cost of living,” Himes said. “In addition to making Metro-North more affordable for Fairfield County commuters, this tax credit also provides small businesses and job creators with a financial incentive to help their employees boost their disposable incomes.”
Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, said he joined the majority in the 378-46 vote reluctantly, even as he supported the R&D tax credit and another provision that allowed tax relief for homeowners who were “underwater” and received debt forgiveness.
“I remain disappointed, however, that the bill put to a vote only provides retroactive and short-sighted relief,” Larson said.
Republicans wanted to make the R&D credit and other business tax breaks permanent but not others, including expansions of the child care tax credit and earned income tax credit scheduled to expire at the end of 2017. That plan provoked a veto threat from President Obama.