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Small Business

Big, Small Businesses Defend Expense Write-Offs

Zero hour is approaching for lawmakers hoping to convince Senate Finance Committee leaders that special tax breaks should stay on the books.

Under the “blank slate” approach that Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is pushing, senators have until July 26 to make the case for provisions that shouldn’t be relegated to the cutting room floor.

One provision that’s being heavily lobbied: business expensing.

It’s a popular benefit that allows businesses to write off significant chunks of their investment in pricey equipment. The break is often seen as a win-win, giving companies an incentive to invest and helping the firms that manufacture the equipment that’s being purchased.

But it comes with a big price tag: about $21 billion over five years. Baucus has made clear that the tax rate — which most companies hope will be slashed to about 25 percent — will go up for every pricey provision that is added back in.

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