Obama Seeks to End Business Tax Breaks

GOP opposition to tax increases may hinder Obama's effort to axe breaks.

President Barack Obama’s tax agenda didn’t start with rate increases alone and it won’t end there.

Just minutes after the U.S. House voted on Jan. 1 to set the top individual rate where Obama wanted, the president already was talking about changing the tax system further, “so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.”

‘Stay Silent’

“If we stay silent, the odds of it happening increase,” said Jade West, senior vice president for government relations at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors in Washington, which opposes Obama’s proposed repeal of the last-in, first-out accounting method. The plan would require companies to pay taxes on their reserves. “So we will stay very vocal and very engaged.”

Budget Proposals

Much of the rest of his tax-raising agenda has been included in budget plans for the past four years and has been ignored or rejected by Congress. Obama will detail his tax proposals in his budget later this year; many of the tax increases have been in all four of his previous budgets.

‘Doesn’t Help’

“Taking a piece here and taking a piece there and looking at that deduction or that item over there, it doesn’t help, and it doesn’t necessarily strengthen the economy,” said Stephen Comstock, director of tax and accounting policy at the American Petroleum Institute.

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