Friday, April 04, 2014

Extenders bill passes out of Senate Finance Committee, includes 45G for shortlines

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Finger Lakes Railway's Geneva Yard. The railroad is one of 550 shortlines in the United States. Finger Lakes Railway's Geneva Yard. The railroad is one of 550 shortlines in the United States. Finger Lakes Railway

The Senate Finance Committee passed legislation, Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act, on April 3 renewing a set of provisions known as "tax extenders."

If passed by the full Senate, the legislation would restore expired or soon to expire tax provisions, including Section 45G short line railroad tax credit.

The current legislation would extend the 45G tax credit by two years; it expired Dec. 31, 2013.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "Including this tax credit for shortline railways in the tax extenders bill means we've crossed the first major hurdle in restoring and extending the provision. Shortline railways support commuter rail lines, connect our local businesses with major distribution hubs and help grow our economy from the ground up. Providing these railways with this tax credit simply makes sense. It will keep our tracks safe and up-to-date and allow railroads to take on exciting new projects that will benefit railways and local businesses. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly pass this bill to reinstate the credit and get our shortline railways chugging along on new infrastructure improvements."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the legislation was approved by bipartisan voice vote, but committed himself to not taking up another extenders package in the future, saying the solid expiration of the tax extension should be used as a carrot to accomplish greater tax reform.

"By passing this bill, the Finance Committee has put an expiration date on the status quo," Sen. Wyden said. "The stop and go nature of these tax extenders contributes to the lack of certainty and predictability America needs to create more family wage jobs...this will be the last tax extenders bill the committee takes up as long as I'm chairman. That's why the bill is called the EXPIRE Act. It is meant to expire."

An effort in the House of Representatives in support of the shortline tax credit, H.R. 721, currently has 241 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

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