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End Farm Bill Gridlock By Closing One Corporate Loophole?

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According to the National Priorities Project, many huge congressional spending battles including one now going on over the farm bill, could be settled by closing corporate tax loopholes. GRAPH by the NPP, based on OMB and CBO figures.
According to the National Priorities Project, many huge congressional spending battles including one now going on over the farm bill, could be settled by closing corporate tax loopholes. GRAPH by the NPP, based on OMB and CBO figures.
December 2, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - One of the key budget issues keeping the Farm Bill stuck in congressional gridlock could be solved by closing a single tax loophole, according to budget analysts. Federal agriculture programs are on the verge of expiring, which could cause serious problems for Arkansas's farmers. However, Mattea Kramer, research director at the National Priorities Project, said a key dispute - how much to cut food stamps - could be made moot by closing one corporate tax loophole.

Kramer said they were looking at how much the treasury loses when corporations defer their taxes on overseas profit. They found it was $42 billion a year.

"That caught our attention, because $40 billion is the number being thrown around right now as the cut to the Food Stamp program, as proposed by the House of Representatives currently."

Food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, have long been included in the Farm Bill to gain support by tying in food assistance for low-income families. House Republicans have argued that the program should be slashed to reduce the deficit. But Kramer said there is no need to break that long-term political bargain, or to put food for the hungry at risk. She said it would be better to close corporate tax loopholes that cost the treasury more than $100 billion a year.

"In fiscal 2013, those tax breaks totaled $108 billion," she said. "So, that's money that did not go into the U.S. Treasury, stayed in the pockets of these corporations."

She said ending the deferral loophole alone could provide more than enough budget savings to settle the food stamp part of the Farm Bill fight and protect programs many farmers depend on. And she said the loophole is based on a fiction that companies use to hide their profits offshore when they are really American firms.

"They're based here. Apple, for instance, the brains behind what they do - and their new products and their product design - all happens here, in California. They're American multinational corporations."

Unless the food stamp issue can be resolved or delayed, the current Farm Bill will expire at the end of the year.

More information is at goo.gl/v6D6M3.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - AR