Business groups press conference committee on tax incentive

The House last year passed bonus depreciation as part of its measure to extend the payroll tax cut for all of 2012. Without the extension, companies would only be able to write off 50 percent of capital investments this year.

The payroll tax conference committee, which contains 20 lawmakers, has bogged down on several issues in recent days, and members of the panel have yet to really discuss how to pay for their proposals.

The two-percentage point cut in the payroll tax expires at month’s end, as does the current reimbursement rate for doctors treating Medicare patients. Millions of workers could also lose unemployment benefits, if Congress doesn’t act.

On Thursday, conferees did largely coalesce behind extending bonus depreciation through 2012 – though Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, did say that he thought the provision packed a little more punch when the economy was stronger.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association and CTIA were among the other groups to sign the letter.

The Chamber has also urged Congress to pass a slew of expired tax provisions, collectively known as tax extenders. Baucus has suggested extending those incentives in a payroll tax package, but Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has so far seemed skeptical.