Wicker Says Tax Relief Bill Helps Mississippi

Senator Says Bill Includes Funding for Rural Schools and Incentives for Gulf Coast Rebuilding and Mississippi Energy Production

September 23, 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today said that legislation approved by the Senate includes provisions helpful to Mississippi and provides much-needed tax relief to Americans at a time of economic anxiety.  The bill was a collection of numerous tax provisions that have expired or are set to expire without Congressional action.

“This is a bipartisan achievement for American taxpayers,” Wicker said.  “By extending numerous tax relief provisions important to job creation and to keeping tax bills small for American families, this bill provides good economic news at just the right time for our country.  Additionally, this legislation will help break America’s dependence on foreign oil by extending tax incentives for companies that produce renewable energy from wind, solar, and biomass.”

Wicker said that the legislation also contains a number of provisions beneficial to Mississippi.  Specifically, the senator highlighted the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act, the extension of the historic tax credit that was contained in the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, and the inclusion of tax incentives to encourage enhanced oil recovery (EOR) efforts in the state. 

“Just as the tax relief in this bill is helpful to our nation’s economy, it also contains provisions that are of extra benefit to Mississippians,” Wicker said.  “I’ve worked hard to get an extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, and am glad it was included in this bill as a way to help provide needed funding to counties all across Mississippi that contain a large amount of un-taxable federal land.  Also of importance to our state, the measure extends historic tax credits contained in the GO Zone Act to help the ongoing rebuilding efforts on the Gulf Coast.  Additionally, tax incentives for enhanced oil recovery will be a great benefit to the EOR projects in Mississippi, helping produce more domestic energy and create good jobs for Mississippians.”

The bipartisan bill includes the following provision important to Mississippi: 

Reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of
2000 and Payment in Lieu of Taxes.
The bill would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program through 2011. It also adjusts the funding distribution formula to make it more equitable, by taking into account historic payment levels to counties, average income levels in counties and acreage of federal land. Finally, the provision also provides for full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program for 2009.

Extension of increased rehabilitation credit for historic structures in the Gulf Opportunity Zone.
The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 increased the rehabilitation credit, within the Gulf
Opportunity Zone, from 10 percent to 13 percent of qualified expenditures for any qualified rehabilitated building other than a certified historic structure. It also increased the credit from 20 percent to 26 percent of qualified expenditures for any certified historic structure. This provision expires at the end of 2008. This proposal would extend the provision through December 31, 2009.

A $10 per ton tax credit for CO2 sequestration in connection with enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  This would benefit EOR efforts in Mississippi, helping make the state a more attractive location for energy production while increasing domestic energy production.
The following are highlights of other major provisions included in the bill:

Protecting middle class families from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  Provision saves about 20 million middle class taxpayers an average of $2,000 next year.

Deduction of state and local sales taxes.  Extends to the end of 2009 a provision that allows taxpayers to take an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes in lieu of the itemized deduction.

Qualified Tuition Deduction.
  Extends to the end of 2009 an above-the-line tax deduction worth between $2,000 to $4,000 for higher education expenses. 

Teacher Expense Deduction.
  Extends to the end of 2009 an above-the-line deduction for up to $250 of education expenses for teachers. 

Research and Development Credit.
  Extends current R&D tax credit until the end of 2009.