Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lobbyists, Tax Panel Set to Wrangle over Changes Final Cut Approaching for Tax, Budget Bills

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lobbyists, Tax Panel Set to Wrangle over Changes Final Cut Approaching for Tax, Budget Bills

Article excerpt

TAX RELIEF could come for people who drink alcoholic apple cider or ride in limousines, if lobbyists can persuade the House Ways and Means Committee to choose their pet provisions from among hundreds of competing proposals.

A special-interest battle royale is developing as the tax-writing committee, headed by Rep. Bill Archer, R-Texas, holds hearings this week on about 230 tax-law changes proposed by its members.

Archer has warned its members that they'll have to suggest a way to pay for any break they advocate. Regardless, hundreds of lobbyists were cheered by the knowledge that their proposals had cleared the first cut.

Now comes their real challenge: making sure that their proposal is one of the lucky few to make it into the massive tax and budget bill that Congress will consider this fall.

"These are the ornaments for a Christmas tree," said Clint Stretch, director of tax legislative affairs for the Deloitte-Touche accounting firm.

If the process works as it has in the past, by late summer or early fall Archer will go to each of the 20 other Republicans on his panel and ask what provisions they must have and what provisions they can cut.

He may offer a similar opportunity to a handful of the 15 Democrats he considers to have been helpful or to be potentially helpful. Then the list of proposals will be cut to perhaps a few dozen.

"Your proposal has to be No. 1 on the list of some member on the majority side, so that when the chairman says to the members, `You can have only one thing,' the congressman remembers that it was your thing he wanted," Stretch said.

Some lobbying pitches are straightforward appeals for lower taxes. The Northeast McIntosh Growers Association, based in Westfield, Mass., believes that its members could sell more apples if alcoholic apple cider were taxed like beer - at 23 cents a gallon, rather than $1.07 a gallon, like wine.

It's only fair, apple growers say, because cider's alcohol content, at 7 percent, is closer to beer's, at 4 percent to 6 percent, than it is to wine's, at 11 percent to 12 percent.

Many of the proposals would fix anomalies in the tax code. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.