Editorial: Christmas comes early with tax and spending deal

Published 9:50 am Monday, December 21, 2015

Americans got an early Christmas gift with Congress on the verge of approving a bipartisan budget deal that keeps tax cuts in place and keeps the government running through Sept. 30.

No threats of a Grinch-like shutdown. No plans to cut off the poor and the elderly or the children on the Island of Misfit Toys. No plans to cut tax breaks for oil companies.

In fact, there are a few surprises in the budget bill and something for every political stripe you might be wearing to the holiday parties.

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Most of the family and business tax cuts in place were extended or expanded for at least another year. The $1,000 per child tax credit stays intact, as does the $2,500 college tuition tax credit for middle class families. Business can still take advantage of their bigger than usual depreciation write offs and the research and development tax credits have been extended.

If you like fossil fuels or green energy, there is something for you in this bill. Tax credits for solar and wind were extended and for the first time in 40 years, the U.S. lifted the silly ban on domestic oil companies exporting their product, like just about every other business can do. It might not be all that great for consumers, but as they say, it’s a free market: If you don’t like the price, buy less.

If you had one of those “Cadillac” health insurance plans they were going to tax, you got a two-year delay. Companies, including many in Minnesota, who make medical devices also got a delay in the 2.3 percent tax they were going to have to pay to help support the Affordable Care Act.

If you prefer wild caught salmon from Alaska versus something from a fish farm, the senator from Alaska got a deal to label those farm “frankenfish” so you’d know the difference.

And best of all, the bill contained a provision that effectively overrides a policy that had banned sledding on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

So from Congress to us, Merry Christmas and Happy Bipartisanship!


— Mankato Free Press, Dec. 18

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