Tom has been busy lately introducing bills. Most bills die in committee–Tom as yet has had no success. Tom invariably gives no bill number, and often the bill number and summary are unavailable until long after Tom’s announcement. Tom’s press releases usually tell only part of the story. Here are three such bills.
HR 4719 — Fighting Hunger Incentive Act
Sponsor: Tom Reed (8 cosponsors)
In his press release, Tom wrote:
Congress temporarily expanded the provision in 2006 and according to the Food Donation Connection, donations have increased 127 percent since the 2006 expanded tax deduction. That temporary expansion expired at the end of 2013. Without Reed’s bill, it is cheaper in most cases for these types of businesses to throw their food away than it is to donate the food. The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act would make the tax provision permanent, allowing more businesses and farmers to take advantage of making food donations.
This statement implies that increased donations are due to the 2006 expanded tax deduction; that this is the reason is uncertain.
The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that enacting H.R. 4719 would reduce revenues, thus increasing federal budget deficits, by about $1.9 billion over the 2014-2024 period.
A similar bill, HR was introduced in 2011. It died in committee due to Republican opposition to it.
(Note: The JCT cost estimate applies to the bill as modified by the Ways and Means Committee.)
HR 4739 — Impaired Waters Improvement Act
Sponsor: Tom Reed (1 cosponsor)
In his May 22 press release Reed wrote:
“The Impaired Waters Improvement Act” establishes a grant program to help communities and the local agriculture industry with meeting Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements, upgrade sewer and wastewater systems and help improve agriculture runoff practices. The bill is fully paid for by a fee on penalties assessed under violations of the Clean Water Act.
I was puzzled by the claim “The bill is fully paid for by a fee on penalties assessed under violations of the Clean Water Act” at no cost to taxpayers. The text of the bill clears up this question: funding comes from an increase in Civil Penalties.
- The Administrator shall prescribe by regulation an increase in the amount of a civil penalty assessed for a violation of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).
- The amount of the increase shall be 5 percent of the civil penalty amount determined under that Act for the violation.
Tom must wish to avoid using the word “increase.”
The bill further specifies:
There are hereby appropriated to the Impaired Waters Improvement Fund for each of fiscal years 2015 through 2019 amounts equivalent to amounts received in the Treasury that are attributable to increases in civil penalty amounts assessed pursuant to subsection (a) or $100,000,000, whichever is less.
Available funding depends on the amount of penalties. How the Administrator will know how much is available isn’t clear. Perhaps the money collected in one year will be spent in the next year. What happens if revenue from the increased penalties exceeds the $100 million limit isn’t clear.
HR 4740 — Roofing Efficiency Jobs Act of 2014
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the depreciation recovery period for energy-efficient cool roof systems.
Sponsor: Tom Reed (3 cosponsors)
According to Tom’s press release:
Current law requires a 39-year depreciation schedule for commercial roofs while the average lifespan of these roofs averages just 17 years. This discrepancy causes building owners to delay the full replacement of older, failing roofs in favor of limited, piecemeal repairs. The “Roofing Efficiency Jobs Act of 2014” lowers the depreciation period for commercial roofs to 20 years.
Reed introduce a similar bill in 2011 which died in committee. The key part of this bill is this:
Treatment of qualified energy efficient cool roof replacement property.–In the case of any qualified energy-efficient cool roof replacement property (within the meaning of section 168(e)(9)), the adjustment for depreciation to earnings and profits of
a real estate investment trust for any taxable year shall be determined under the alternative depreciation method (within the meaning of section 168(g)(2)), except that the recovery period shall be 20 years.
It appears that Reed’s bill specifically benefits a real estate investment trust. Remember Tom is financially supported by the realty lobby.
© William Hungerford – June 2014