WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) praised the bipartisan work of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday as he joined with his colleagues to pass a package of tax extensions designed to provide certainty and better results for American taxpayers, families and businesses. The Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act encourages economic growth and development, innovation, and job creation. It includes a number of specific provisions authored by Senator Cardin to promote energy efficiency in buildings, to help the long-term unemployed, and to encourage domestic economic investment and job creation. Senator Cardin was pleased that the tax extenders package also renews incentives for use of public transit and conservation easements, renews the New Markets Tax Credit, and extends the Low Income House Credit minimum rate for both existing property and new construction, all of which are important for Baltimore and communities throughout Maryland.
“Our tax code directly or indirectly affects every American and resident of the U.S. We need to enact comprehensive tax reform but in the meantime, we can make the current system work better to encourage economic growth and development, spur innovation, and create jobs. We can use the tax code to provide much needed support for our children, families, and workers, and provide stability and predictability for our businesses,” said Senator Cardin.
“Energy efficiency improvements are a smart, cost-effective way to reduce pollution, increase the competitiveness of our manufacturers, and put Americans back to work. It’s simply good business and good policy. I am pleased that the EXPIRE Act extends the 179D deduction for energy efficient buildings, and includes several improvements that now allow tribal governments and nonprofits to access this important incentive. I look forward to working with the Chairman, Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee to ensure that further improvements to 179D—especially extending the incentive to retrofits—become law.”
“Section 181 is about making the US competitive in the global market and keeping skilled jobs at home by extending the rules for film and television expensing, and extending those benefits to theatrical productions. This isn’t a tax give-away to Hollywood or Broadway; it’s about ensuring that movies, television programs and shows are filmed or produced in Maryland, and around the country, rather than in Vancouver or Sydney. Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and the UK all have been aggressively marketing tax incentives for production activities.
“As just one example, in Maryland, this provision helps support 1,200 employees who work in the offices of Bethesda-based Discovery Communications. Since Section 181 became effective, Discovery’s investment in the U.S. on qualified television productions has increased from approximately $33 million in 2004 to more than $1 billion in 2013. Section 181 also supports actors, directors, producers and other production personnel who have been involved in television shows like The Wire, House of Cards, and VEEP, all of which are filmed in Maryland,” Senator Cardin added.
Portman-Cardin WOTC amendment
“According to the 2014 Economic Report of the President, released in March, the current elevation of the unemployment rate is entirely due to long-term unemployment. In December 2013, the unemployment rate for workers unemployed 26 weeks or less fell to lower than its average in the 2001-07 period, while the unemployment rate for workers unemployed 27 weeks or more remained higher than at any time prior to the Great Recession.
“I am very proud to have joined my colleague Senator Portman on an amendment to counter the stigma that can often attach to those individuals. WOTC has been extremely effective in encouraging employers to take chance on hiring individuals who are difficult to hire and in so doing, dramatically reduced the burden of public assistance with respect to the unemployed. Studies on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit have shown that for every WOTC hire, the federal government saves approximately $17,000 by encouraging the hiring of hard-to-employ individuals.”