clear
Thursday September 3rd, 2015 8:58AM

Lawmakers employ gimmicks to pay for highway funds

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House and Senate have passed competing versions of legislation to prevent the federal trust funds providing highway and transit funds from running dry next month and to buy more time for Congress to draft a new highway bill. <br /> <br /> The House measure provides $11 billion to keep the fund solvent through May; the Senate approved an $8 billion measure that would keep the fund afloat through late December. The House is expected to prevail even though its measure relies on a provision known as pension ``smoothing'' that is widely derided as a gimmick by budget experts. <br /> <br /> The House measure's financing provisions are: <br /> <br /> Pension ``smoothing.'' Raises $6.4 billion by allowing companies to reduce the amount that they contribute to their pension funds now and make up for it later. Since pension contributions are tax deductible, companies would owe more tax revenue in the next few years as more of their earnings are taxed. But in the later years, they would be able to claim higher deductions from larger contributions to their pension funds, costing the government revenue. Over time, the pension measure doesn't raise revenue. But over the next 10 years the time frame used to estimate the cost of legislation it does. Critics warn it could cost taxpayers in the long run because taxpayers could be on the hook if an insured pension plan can't meet its obligations and has to turn to the government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. for help. <br /> <br /> Customs user fees. Raises $3.5 billion by extending for one year (2024) various user fees paid to the Customs Service for goods, vehicles and people entering the U.S. Critics say it's a gimmick that allows lawmakers to spend the money now and not pay it back for 10 years. <br /> <br /> Leaking underground storage tanks. Transfers $1 billion from an overfunded trust fund established to pay for cleaning up sites fouled by pollution from leaking underground storage tanks, including those at gas stations. Most problem sites have been cleaned up and the leaking tanks fund runs a surplus of about $200 million a year. <br /> <br /> A leading Senate alternative by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would provide $8 billion to keep the highway trust fund solvent through Dec. 19. Its provisions include: <br /> <br /> $3.9 billion through extending Customs user fees and transfers from the underground storage tank trust fund. <br /> <br /> $2.1 billion through stricter reporting on mortgages to lessen incorrect tax filings on mortgage interest. <br /> <br /> $1.3 billion by lengthening the statute of limitations regarding understatement of certain capital gains transactions. <br /> <br /> $0.8 billion through withholding Medicare payments to providers that are delinquent on their taxes.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 8 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 8 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 8 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 8 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 8 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 8 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 8 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 8 months ago )
Politics
College Board reports lower SAT scores, most test-takers missing college-ready benchmark
WASHINGTON (AP) — Student performance on the SAT college entrance exam is lagging, continuing a mostly downward trend over the last five years.The College Board says in a report that a record number o...
8:14AM ( 44 minutes ago )
1 Marine killed, 9 others hurt in helicopter hard landing at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) — One Marine has been killed and 9 others were hurt when a helicopter made a hard landing at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter came down hard...
7:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Asian stock markets rise amid China holiday after getting perk from Wall Street rebound
Asian stocks rose Thursday after Wall Street rebounded from a sharp sell-off and as a holiday in China gave investors a break from its torrid markets.KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 1.4 perce...
1:03AM ( 7 hours ago )
Watchdog: 900,000 vets may have pending health care requests; many of those may be deceased
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 900,000 military veterans have officially pending applications for health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the department's inspector general said Wednesday, but...
7:29PM ( 13 hours ago )
In Alaska wilderness, Obama stares down melting glacier to sound alarm on climate change
SEWARD, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama stared down a melting glacier in Alaska on Tuesday in a dramatic use of his presidential pulpit to sound the alarm on climate change.From a distance, Exit...
7:11PM ( 13 hours ago )