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U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor won’t limit which industries are eligible for a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses that he will propose today.
The bill would cut taxes for companies with fewer than 500 workers and would cap the deduction at 50 percent of wages paid to employees, Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for Cantor, confirmed. Removing the limits means that companies that can generate significant profits from relatively few workers might be eligible for the tax break.
Cantor, a Virginia Republican, plans to release details of the bill today. The bill will apply only in 2012, Fallon said.
Cantor said last month that Republican leaders plan to bring the measure to the House floor before the April 17 tax- filing deadline.
Cantor and other House Republican leaders proposed a similar small-business tax deduction in 2009 and 2010. The measure didn’t advance in the House, controlled at the time by Democrats.
The earlier proposals wouldn’t have allowed the deduction for income from banking, insurance, financing or investing. They also excluded golf courses, massage parlors, gambling operations, farms, hotels, restaurants, engineering firms, accounting firms and producers of pornography.
The deduction proposal was part of Republicans’ 2009 alternative to the Democrats’ economic stimulus plan, and in 2010 it became part of House Republicans’ campaign agenda.
According to 2008 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 5.9 million companies that weren’t sole proprietorships, 18,469, or 0.3 percent, had 500 or more workers. Those larger companies employed 50.6 percent of the U.S. work force.
Groups that support the legislation include the International Franchise Association.
Other groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have taken a less definitive position.
“The Cantor bill adds to the debate and underscores the need for comprehensive, fundamental tax reform,” said Blair Latoff, a chamber spokeswoman, in an e-mail.
Cantor is proposing the measure even as House Republicans pursue an overhaul of the tax code that would eliminate many targeted tax breaks.
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