Thursday, February 01, 2007

Minumum wage bill passes Senate

The Senate passing the minimum wage bill is definitely good news although I would prefer that all the tax breaks for big businesses be removed.
The Senate cleared the way for an increase in the minimum wage Tuesday, but only with business tax breaks that House Democrats want removed.

Final Senate passage of the legislation is expected this week, setting the stage for a round of difficult negotiations between House and Senate Democrats.

In a key test, the Senate voted 87-10 to end debate on the bill Tuesday, far more than the 60 votes needed.

Earlier this month, the House passed the same increase in the wage floor -- from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years -- without any tax provisions. Senate Democrats tried to push through the House version last week but failed to get the 60 votes to end debate.

The vote Tuesday emphasized how Senate passage depends on the tax package to attract Republican votes. The White House also has signaled that President Bush wants tax breaks in the legislation.[...]

The tax breaks in the Senate bill have divided the private sector, pitting small businesses and retailers that would benefit from them against the larger corporations and manufacturers that would have to pay for them. The package would cost $8.3 billion in lost tax revenue over 10 years.

To help pay for the tax breaks, corporations no longer would be able to deduct the cost of jury verdicts or settlements in liability suits against them, and their executives' tax-deferred pay packages would be capped at $1 million a year.

The bill's business critics are especially annoyed that the tax benefits would be short term while the provisions that pay for them would alter tax law for the long term.

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