Lawmakers urge tax break extension

A bipartisan group of 70 lawmakers is urging the House’s top tax writers to permanently extend a tax break that helps spur investment in low-income areas.

The lawmakers – around 20 of whom are Republicans – say that the New Markets Tax Credit gave a significant boost to both urban and rural communities after the economy cratered in recent years.

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And they add that, while they support the goal of broad-based tax reform, Congress should not forget about extending this credit while it works on rewriting the code.

The new markets credit expires at the end of the year, but – like other temporary tax breaks commonly known as extenders – it could get extended retroactively.

“Unless Congress acts to extend the NMTC, business and communities across the country will lose an important source of capital,” the 70 House members wrote to Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.).

“With a fragile economic recovery still under way, now is not the time to cut off this critical source of financing.”

The new markets credit does have the support of many congressional tax writers, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.).

One of the letter’s 70 signers, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), is also on the conference committee currently charged with finding a budget deal.

But Camp – and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), for that matter – has also made clear that tax reform is his top priority, and has shown little interest in dealing with the expiring provisions outside of that process.