Business as Usual

Business as Usual

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The deficit commission chairmen took a hard line on tax expenditures in the $3.8 trillion deficit reduction package that will be voted on Friday. They called for the elimination of $1.1 trillion in tax credits and exclusions that benefit corporations and consumers, calling it the only way to both reduce the deficit and lower tax rates across-the-board.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, was the first elected leader to jump on the bandwagon in support of the proposal during Wednesday’s meeting. “This is a moment of truth,” he said. “The nation is headed for a fiscal cliff. We have to act. This is the time for us to pull together. If not now, when?”

A few hours later, Conrad and 14 farm state colleagues from both political parties sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. They called for immediate renewal of the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit, the small ethanol producer tax credit, and the cellulosic producer tax credit, which reduce income tax collections by about $3.5 billion a year.

“This is not the time to reduce the supply of a domestic source of fuel and place at greater risk the thousands of well-paying jobs that the renewable fuels industry has created,” Conrad said in a press release sent out by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

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spent 25 years as a foreign correspondent, economics writer and investigative business reporter for the Chicago Tribune and other publications. He is the author of the 2004 book, The $800 Million Pill: The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs.