The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

January 3, 2013

From NASCAR to rum, the 10 weirdest parts of the 'fiscal cliff' bill

(Continued)

2. A rum tax for Puerto Rico

Another longstanding item-this one dates back to 1917. Congress currently levies an excise tax worth $13.50 per gallon on all rum produced in or imported to the United States. Most of that money is transferred to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, who use the revenue to support their rum industries. In 2009, this tax raised some $547 million. The cliff deal would extend the current arrangement another year. (By the way, Puerto Rico's non-voting representative in the House, Pedro Pierluisi, thinks this tax set-up is too favorable to rum distillers.)

3. Cheaper office space for Goldman Sachs

Okay, it's certainly not called this. Section 328 of the bill extends tax-exempt financing for the "Liberty Zone," the area around the former World Trade Center, for another year. As Matt Stoller points out, this tax provision was supposed to help fund reconstruction after 9/11. Yet a recent Bloomberg investigation found the bonds have mostly helped finance new luxury apartments, not to mention the construction of Goldman Sachs' new headquarters. Developers say the bonds were necessary to revitalize downtown Manhattan, but there's a fierce debate over how they've been used.

4. Help NASCAR build racetracks

The so-called NASCAR loophole, in place since 2004, allows anyone who builds a racetrack to receive a small tax benefit through accelerated depreciation. This tax break cost roughly $43 million the past two years and will get extended for another year. Sounds tawdry, right? And yet, supporters claim the break is necessary so that NASCAR can compete on a level playing field with other theme parks. Looks like they got their wish.

5. Treat coal from Indian lands as an alternative energy source

The fiscal cliff deal has a bunch of provisions for clean energy-notably, it extends a key tax credit for wind power for one more year, thus preventing the U.S. wind industry from downsizing. (That credit will cost about $1.2 billion per year for 10 years.)

Text Only
Community News Network
E-edition
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Must Read