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Congress extends dozens of tax breaks

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U.S. Capitol Congress Washington D.C. (Shutterstock)

The US Senate approved a sweeping package of tax breaks, sending to President Barack Obama a bill that allows individuals and corporations to save billions of dollars on their 2014 taxes.

On the Senate’s final day of the year, lawmakers passed some 55 so-called tax extenders, deductions that expired at the end of 2013 but will be retroactively restored with the current legislation.

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The Senate easily passed the measure, 76 votes to 16, after the House passed it earlier this month.

“Today’s strong bipartisan vote shows that Democrats and Republicans can come together to encourage our economy to create jobs and strengthen the middle class,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.

Members hastily crafted the extenders package after a much broader bipartisan tax reform measure collapsed spectacularly in November when the White House threatened to veto it because it left out critical provisions for working families.

That left little time to draft an alternate before Congress was to adjourn for the year.

Tax extenders have become a traditional quirk of the cumbersome US tax system, and some of the deductions in Tuesday’s final package have been extended annually since the 1980s.

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This year’s package will cost US taxpayers an estimated $44.7 billion over 10 years, and include perks for horse racing, the wind energy industry, Hollywood moviemakers and NASCAR auto racing.

But it also offers much-needed tax credits for research and development, lowers costs for teachers who pay for supplies out of their own pocket, and helps struggling home owners who entered programs to reduce their mortgages.


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2020 Election

Trump-Biden race could hinge on how this one Florida county swings

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Betty Jones voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, but the lifelong Republican has her doubts she will do it again this year.

The federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed about 200,000 Americans and forced older adults to restrict their activities has her contemplating a leadership change.

It “makes me unsure,” said Jones, 78, of Largo, in Pinellas County, Florida. Before COVID-19, she said, she would have definitely voted for Trump.

Polls show that many people will have the pandemic and its public health and economic consequences on their minds when they cast their votes — whether by mail or in person — this fall. Early in-person voting starts Oct. 19 in most Florida counties, including Pinellas.

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Muckraker’s fight to unseal FBI files on Jeffrey Epstein kept alive by judge

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday kept alive a citizen muckraker’s quest to pry loose for the public’s benefit tens of thousands of FBI documents about disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, including his time as a government informant.Self-styled public information crusader Angela Clemente sued in May, seeking to force the FBI to release the documents on the grounds that Epstein is now dead, albeit under mysterious circumstances, and that there is an overarching public interest in releasing documents. The Justice Department, representing the FBI, is fighting the effort.In a status hearing... (more…)

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Mark David Chapman says he was seeking ‘glory’ when he murdered John Lennon

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ALBANY, N.Y. — John Lennon’s killer said he was seeking “glory” when he shot the Beatles star in cold blood 40 years ago but now thinks he deserved the death penalty for his “despicable act,” according to a transcript of his most recent parole hearing obtained by the Daily News.Mark David Chapman, who shot Lennon four times outside of his Upper West Side apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980, was denied parole for the 11th time last month.During his appearance before the State Parole Board, Chapman expressed remorse for his actions that night, saying he killed the famed songwriter because he was ... (more…)

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