Mike Thompson Watch


Mike Thompson Introduces Corporate Tax Break

(January 24, 2010)

California Congressman Mike Thompson, along with Republican John Linder of Georgia, on January 13, 2010 introduced H.R. 4455, To Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to Improve and Extend Certain Energy-related Tax Provisions.

The bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee for now. Many bills go to committee and never emerge, or become merged into larger bills.

If you read the text of H.R. 4455, you will see that it is meant to benefit only certain big businesses, which would mostly be corporations. It increases tax credits (lowering taxes) for certain industrial heat and power system upgrades, more efficient motors, and CFC chiller replacement in industrial refrigeration systems. Another section expands credits for "qualifying efficient industrial process water use projects." This is for efficient electricity use, not water use, and would seem to benefit irrigation projects, including Thompson's favorite, vineyards.

Take special note of Republican John Linder's co-sponsoring the bill. The Republican Party does not want the government interfering in business, except when it gives certain businesses special tax treatment or subsidies. Generally speaking, any business equipment purchases are depreciated, which means the total expense is gradually deducted from income over a period of years that is supposed to correspond to the serviceable period of the equipment. Accelerated depreciation lowers the income tax compared to a longer period of depreciation, but in the end of the period, the deducted expense remains the same. This bill does more than accelerate the depreciation deduction. It gives a credit, which means taxpayers are paying for the equipment, not just seeing a delay in collecting taxes on the profits of a business.

As Democrat Party member in an increasingly liberal district, Mike Thompson wants to project a liberal, environmentalist image to the voters while continuing to serve the rich, just as he did when he voted for the Bush tax cuts for the rich. H.R. 4455 is not the sort of bill that is written by a member of the House of Representatives, or by the IRS. It is written by a business lobby. Perhaps Mr. Thompson could issue a press release saying which lobby wrote the bill, and what their past contributions to his campaign funds have been.

For liberal cover, the bill is cast as an energy bill. Aren't we all trying to use less power, is not using less power a good thing? It is just strange to see a supposed fiscal conservative like Mike dishing out special tax breaks to big industrial operations when the government is running such a huge deficit.

—William P. Meyers

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Mike Thompson is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.