New Ideas

Obama Wants a Business Tax Break

But can it pass muster in Congress? Obama has proposed a plan, to be detailed Wednesday, that would allow companies to write off 100 percent of their new investments in plants and equipment through 2011. Under the proposal, businesses could lower their taxable income for 2011 by however much they spend on almost any new investment other than real estate. White House economists say the plan would cut business taxes by almost $200 billion over two years, and a senior administration official said they expect about 1.5 million companies to take advantage of the proposal. Even conservative economists are praising the idea. Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute says it "goes to show they've learned their lesson" from the 2009 stimulus. One group who’s not excited: business lobbyists. They would rather Obama extend the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The plan is one of several new strategies for stimulating the economy that Obama has proposed recently, also including a permanent extension and expansion of the research and experimentation tax credit and a $50 billlion boost in infrastructure spending.