Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Takes on Temporary Tax Breaks

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote an opinion piece today decrying special interest tax subsidies that may be added to a year-end spending deal before Congress leaves for the year. As the editorial says:

Impeachment suggests a hopelessly partisan Washington, but sometimes this is more for show. Republicans and Democrats are working together behind the scenes to fleece taxpayers with another burst of special-interest tax subsidies before they leave for the year.

In a rare moment of wisdom or confusion, Congress let its annual package of tax handouts expire at the end of 2017. This “extender” bill, as it’s called, is Congress’s usual way of slipping repeat tax perks to such favored friends as Nascar track proprietors, racehorse owners and green-energy outfits.

In May, we signed a letter issued jointly by 12 organizations from across the political spectrum against reviving the tax breaks that have now expired two years ago. We also held an event on Capitol Hill highlighting how these "zombie" tax extenders should be allowed to remain dead. Reviving tax extenders and new proposed temporary tax breaks are a large part of the $135 billion to $2.2 trillion that could be added to the debt with a year-end spending deal if lawmakers included everything being proposed.

Lawmakers should stop the uncertainty and poor policy outcomes that come with having so much of the tax code being temporary. With $4 trillion of new debt enacted in the last three years and trillion-dollar deficits returning, lawmakers shouldn't be adding any more to debt in a year-end spending deal.