Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Sin Taxes" Snag Katrina Relief

Legislation expected to be considered in the Senate today to provide tax incentives to rebuild the Gulf Coast after the hurricanes of last summer has been stalled over a dispute as to whether casinos, liquor stores and massage parlors should be eligible for the tax breaks. The Senate voted to remove the tax preferences but Ways and Means chair William Thomas (R-CA) has threatened to send the legislation to conference committee if the incentives are gutted. Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) says that a compromise is being considered where the casinos would be omitted but noncasino portions of a casino (as well as hotels, restaurants and theaters) could qualify.

I hope Senator Lott's compromise is success. While no big fan of tax incentives for casinos (and even less of one for massage parlors), this is no time for Congress to moralize while Gulf Coast residents are trying to rebuild their lives.


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