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Senate Passes Blunt Tax Provisions Critical to Boosting Economic Growth and Strengthening Communities in Missouri and Across the Nation

December 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) released the following statement today after voting in favor of a tax relief package that will help families, spur private-sector investment, boost small business growth, and support charitable giving in Missouri, and across the country. Several measures sponsored by Blunt were included in the package passed by the Senate today, and are now headed to the president’s desk.

“Missouri’s small business owners cannot plan for the future with all of the uncertainty they face in the tax code,” Blunt said. “This measure extends and makes permanent several tax provisions, like the R&D tax credit and Section 179 small business expensing, that will give job creators the peace of mind they need to access capital, expand their businesses, and put more Missourians to work. The bill also includes two measures I sponsored, including extending the New Markets Tax Credit and changing the Empowerment Zone hiring definition and extending the program, which will help steer private-sector investment to the areas that need it most. 

“I’m also glad we support working families by making the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit permanent, and strengthen communities by extending tax deductions for many types of charitable donations. While I continue to support a broader, more permanent overhaul of our tax code, this is an important step in the right direction.” 

Following are Several of the Key Tax Provisions Included in the Package:

  • Child Tax Credit – The bill makes permanent the child tax credit that has benefited thousands of Missouri households.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit – The bill makes permanent the EITC tax credit, a refundable tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and couples, particularly with children. A total of 519,000 Missourians benefited from the EITC tax credit last year, receiving an average of $2,377.
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit – The bill makes permanent the AOTC tax credit for education expenses paid for the first four years of higher education, making it easier for more Missourians to continue their education.
  • Empowering Jobs Act – The bill includes Blunt’s Empowering Jobs Act, which will benefit communities like St. Louis and others by extending the Empowerment Zone program and expanding the way job creators and local governments are able to use their allocations of tax-exempt bonds. Specifically, the provision will ease the requirements for how these bonds can be used and encourage more job creators to invest in the nation’s hardest-hit communities.
  • New Markets Tax Credit – The NMTC program encourages private investment in low-income rural and urban areas, and can be traced either directly or indirectly to the creation of nearly 18,000 Missouri jobs between 2003 and 2012. The bill includes a measure sponsored by Blunt that extends the NMTC, authorizing the allocation of $3.5 billion of new markets tax credits for each year from 2015 through 2019. 
  • IRA/Charitable Giving Tax Provision – The bill makes permanent a tax provision allowing seniors to use IRA funds to make up to a $100,000 tax-free charitable donation. Blunt previously sponsored the Charitable Giving Act, which was signed into law in 2006, allowing tax-free distributions from IRA accounts for charitable purposes.
  • The Work Colleges Relief Act – The bill includes Blunt’s Work Colleges Relief Act, which will help work colleges, like the College of the Ozarks in Southwest Missouri, decrease student debt and reliance on loans, while providing students with real work experience. The provision clarifies and makes permanent a tax exemption for work college scholarships that help schools and their students avoid unnecessary legal and accounting costs.
  • The Support Theaters in America Growth and Expansion Act – The bill includes the STAGE Act, which Blunt introduced, to allow commercial theater productions to benefit from the same tax treatment provided to film and television productions, benefiting the thriving live theater culture in Branson, Kansas City, St. Louis, and across the nation.  
  • Small Business Expensing – The bill expands and makes permanent Section 179, a tax provision enabling small businesses and farmers to deduct the cost of purchasing new equipment. The bill allows a business to expense up to $500,000 of investments in office equipment or machinery .  According to the National Federation of Independent Business, increasing the limit for small business expensing could create up to 200,000 additional jobs and increase economic output by $18 billion.
  • Research & Development Tax Credit – The bill permanently extends and modifies the R&D tax credit to spur innovation and small business growth. Beginning in 2016, eligible small businesses will be able to utilize the tax credit to help offset other tax liabilities, freeing up more capital to expand and create jobs. 
  • Bonus Depreciation – The bill includes legislation, co-sponsored by Blunt, that extends the bonus depreciation tax provision, allowing businesses to deduct up to half the cost of new equipment put into use between 2015 and 2017. The provision also allows businesses to claim unused Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax credits in lieu of bonus depreciation to put towards additional investments.
  • The Charitable Agricultural Research Act – The bill includes the Charitable Agricultural Research Act, which Blunt co-sponsored, to facilitate the development of public-private partnerships and support increased investment in agricultural research. 
  • Conservation Tax Deduction – The bill permanently extends the charitable deduction for farmers and ranchers who preserve land for conservation.
  • Food Inventory Tax Deduction – The bill will help local pantries and food banks continue serving their communities by expanding and making permanent a tax incentive for businesses to donate excess food inventory to these organizations. The provision is similar to the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act that Blunt co-sponsored in the Senate.


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