October 20, 2014

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Pitch the pork over the cliff
Written by Submitted   
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 7:05 PM

Just where are we fiscally now that the cliff has been avoided?  Or have we?

Would you be surprised to know that the compromise rammed through the Senate and the House of Representatives at the beginning of the year has almost $68 billion in tax cuts for various special interests included in it.

The general public just thought the compromise signed into law was aimed at the tax cuts affecting families and individuals which were scheduled to expire.

Oh no. There are all sorts of business tax cuts and special treatments aimed at certain interest groups.

How about a cost recovery program aimed saving the owners of “motorsport entertainment complexes” for $70 million over the next two years? 

Packed full of pork
With the popularity of auto racing being what it is, are racetrack owners really in desperate need of a tax break?

Some of the tax credits are good for 10 years, so while construction of renewable energy projects (wind turbines, biomass, geothermal and hydropower) are slated for a tax credit projection of $116 million in 2013, any project that breaks ground this year will be able to claim the credit over the next decade at an overall price tag of slightly less than $12.2 billion.

Hollywood producers who shoot their movies in the US stand to gain $430 million in tax breaks this year.

If you are a domestic asparagus grower, you are in for a $15 million a year break because you can’t battle the cheap asparagus imported from Peru.

Instead of a tax break, just bar imported asparagus, forcing the home folks to buy the home produce.  Sounds good in theory until the next crisis when the consumer learns to do without $2 a stem asparagus.

Get yourself an electric scooter or a Segway and tap into a $4 million tax break over the next two years for “2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles.”

Not even a full-sized electric car that could be used seriously by commuters and for local trips. The only cliff involved with this cut was the one that the inventor of the Segway drove off a year or so ago.

There has been recent criticism of the House of Representatives dragging its feet on disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

After listening to some of the Sunday morning shows this past Sunday, I now see the reason.

It seems as the relief bill was making its way through Congress various representatives used the opportunity to turn the legislation into the pork barrel parade, turning it into what is known as a “Christmas Tree” bill.

That’s when everybody hangs something on it, most of which having nothing to do with relief for storm victims.

The debt ceiling will be the next great contest, and I hope some serious consideration as to the reduction of irresponsible spending.

Turning to other business news, Unilever is preparing to sell its Skippy Peanut Butter line to Hormel for an estimated $700 million.

Skippy is the number two selling brand in the US.  Hormel, known mainly for meat product lines, would have been able to use Elvis Presley as a spokesperson.

The King, known for his fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, no doubt would have been a superb pitchman for combining some of Hormel’s other products.

Peanut butter and Spam sandwiches.  Yummmm! Talk about your hunka, hunka burnin’ love.

Jim Robertson is a longtime Harrison resident, a member of Harrison City Council, and a weekly columnist for The Harrison Press.