WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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Local Democrats Decry House-Passed Small Business Bill

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Leaders on Capitol Hill don't agree on tax breaks for small businesses that passed in the House this week.
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Leaders on Capitol Hill don't agree on tax breaks for small businesses that passed in the House this week.

House Republicans in the region helped pass a bill to give tax breaks to small businesses this week, but critics say it would do more to help wealthy business owners than anyone else. 

The legislation, the Small Business Tax Cut Act, was crafted and ushered through the House by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is also the House Majority Leader. Under the measure, some small businesses could see their taxes slashed by as much as 20 percent. Cantor says the idea is simple. 

"Our bill puts more money into the hands of small business owners so they can reinvest those funds to retain and create more jobs and grow their businesses," he says. "Plain and simple."

But Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) says the bill will do nothing to spur job growth in the region. In fact, he claims rich business owners could make out like bandits under the legislation. 

"In a cruel hoax and twist, on this, wealthy individuals can qualify for this tax break even if they fire people this year," Van Hollen says. 

Political observers say the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to offer legislation to provide incentives for hiring by offering tax credits to small businesses, he says. 

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