The expectation was to send lawmakers to Washington with hopes of reversing the current fiscal trend. Since 2008, the federal budget has been hemorrhaging at an alarming rate due to the governments’s obviously out-of-control spending problems. So, when lawmakers put forth the fiscal cliff deal, it appeared as if we had received only more of the same fiscal irresponsibility out of Congress. According to a report from ABC, this deal had no shortage of pork:
- $430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects.
- $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
- $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
- $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
- $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
- $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.
And so, lawmakers punt the ball down the field. Whether we can keep this fiscal trend up for one year or ten, the current Congress doesn’t really care it seems. That is, unless funding NASCAR and algae growers is an essential, integral part of providing for the public good.