Following a closed-door planning session today of members of the Senate Finance Committee, we expect the Committee will mark-up the tax portions of a stimulus package as early as January 22nd. As we indicated previously, committee members are committed to exerting their jurisdiction over the tax portions of the package. Moreover, there appears to be a growing debate over certain provisions in the Obama plans. As Dow Jones reports this afternoon:

“When asked about specific tax cut proposals made by Obama, Kerry said, “I think there are cuts that are not going to stand the test of whether they will create jobs. Coming in for specific criticism were an Obama plan to give companies a $3,000 tax credit to offset the cost of new hires, and a $500 tax credit for workers that would be spread out over a period of time in take-home pay. “Is a $3,000 tax credit going to get you to hire somebody to build cars that nobody’s buying?” asked Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., speaking to reporters after the committee meeting.”

Exactly what replaces those unpopular tax cuts — more tax relief or more spending — is an open question. Let’s hope it’s more tax relief for businesses. Having both the Ways and Means and Finance Committee members weigh in on the stimulus package, however, gives our S corporation allies a better chance to make the package more small business friendly, especially with regard to built-in gains reform. We expect the Ways and Means Committee to also hold a mark-up as early as the week of the inauguration. S-CORP In the News

Speaking of small business tax relief, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by S-CORP Executive Director Brian Reardon highlighting the history of the small business corporation and outlining how Congress can best help ensure the small business community is adequately armed to respond to the on-going economic recession:

What should Congress do? First, follow President-elect Obama’s lead and make small business tax relief the center of any economic stimulus plan. Relief that increases small business’ access to capital would be especially timely. For S corporations, the tax code forces many of them to sit on appreciated assets rather than sell them and put the money to better use. Another rule prohibits them from accepting direct foreign investment. Changing these out-of-date rules would free up capital and encourage new business formation.

Second, keep the rates on small business income low – certainly no higher than what large corporations pay. Actions like these would signal to millions of small businesses that they will not be punished to pay for the excesses of Wall Street, which should make it easier for them to grow their businesses and create jobs.

New Members on Ways and Means

The House Ways and Means Committee for the 111th Congress is now complete, with both Democrats and Republicans announcing their final additions to the committee. House Republicans had six seats to fill and announced their selections yesterday. New members include:

Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-07)
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05)
Rep. Geoff Davis (KY-04)
Rep. Dean Heller (NV-02)
Rep. David Reichert (WA-08)
Rep. Pete Roskam (IL-06)

Earlier this week House Democrats filled their one remaining spot on the Ways and Means Committee with the selection of Linda Sanchez (D-CA), after Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) turned down the position in December. Combined with the Democrats’ earlier additions, that’s a total of 11 new members for the tax-writing Committee.

You can bet your S-CORP team will be reaching out to new and old members alike in coming weeks. Small business tax relief is on the table, and we need to get the message out.