Udall upset by tenative tax plan

A tentative deal reached by President Obama and Senate Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers and extend unemployment benefits has one Colorado senator fuming.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said his first response to the deal reached by Obama and minority Republicans was opposition.

“With our debt out of control, our troops battling two wars and American families struggling every week in the recession, extending tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires makes no sense,” Udall said in a statement in which he said he was willing to work weekends, nights and through the holidays “rather than pass a compromise that I believe will weaken our economy for the long term.”

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., was reviewing details of the agreement Tuesday, a spokesman said.

Bennet’s priorities are to extend tax cuts for the middle class, extend unemployment insurance and ensure an agreement can be reached before the tax cuts expire Dec. 31, his office said.

The agreement announced by Obama will last through 2012, when he and many in Congress will be seeking re-election.

Failure in the negotiations to address the nation’s deficit could be the most significant weakness in the agreement, said Craig Severance, owner of Accounting and Benefit Solutions in Grand Junction.

“The deficit is probably a much larger business issue in the long run than these tax rates,” Severance said.

Education and child tax credits will have a greater beneficial effect on his clientele, he said.

“It will cost the average middle-class family $2,000 to $3,000 more a year if they all expire,” Severance said. “It affects a middle-class family more than someone in a higher tax bracket.”

If the agreement passes, “It will make me popular because everybody will get nice refunds,” Severance said, but the root problem of the nation’s deficit will continue to fester.

The National Federation of Independent Business, however, said the agreement could rejuvenate the economy by offering certainty to small business.

“While we would have preferred a more permanent solution, NFIB believes this compromise gives all small-business owners some much-needed certainty over their tax liability for the next two years and includes a workable estate tax compromise,” said Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

A 13-month extension of unemployment benefits will increase the tax burdens on small-business owners, Gagliardi said.

The agreement fell short by failing to repeal a requirement of the health care bill that required businesses to file IRS forms for every purchase of $600 or more, Gagliardi said.


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