COVID Relief Should Not Include Tax Giveaways

For Immediate Release

The Senate Majority Leader released a revised $550 billion COVID relief proposal yesterday afternoon. Like the Heroes Act that passed the House in the Spring and the $900 billion bipartisan package put forward yesterday, the bills look to extend unemployment benefits, support small businesses, assist schools, and fund vaccine dissemination, though the details vary in important ways. But this proposal also includes several extraneous measures. For example, the Senate Majority Leader’s legislation would dramatically expand the temporary $300 above-the-line charitable deduction enacted in the CARES Act. It would also restore the 100 percent deduction of business meals – which was limited to help offset the cost of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – and establish tax credits for donations to school choice scholarship programs.

 Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

The COVID-19 virus is spreading out of control, millions of Americans are out of work, and many businesses won’t be able to make it through the winter. Now is not the time for political posturing and special-interest giveaways.  

The goal of further COVID relief legislation should be to defeat the pandemic, support the economy, and provide a bridge for households, firms, and state and local governments until we get through this crisis. Subsidizing corporate lunches doesn't belong in these negotiations, nor does offering a second charitable deduction to those who were likely to donate anyway or funding for school choice.

These giveaways might seem small in the grand scheme of things, but they reflect an unfortunate habit of using political compromises to funnel taxpayer dollars where they aren't needed. They also open the door for more wasteful tax cuts and spending hikes and will undermine support for distributing funds to where they are actually needed.

In the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis, this kind of waste should not be tolerated.  


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