Friday, May 13, 2005

Finance Committee Members Taking "Questionable Tax Breaks"

The Kansas City Star (link via Wonkette) reported:

Nearly two dozen senators, including Kit Bond and Sam Brownback, got tax breaks on their Washington houses supposedly reserved only for those who make D.C. their primary residence.

By taking the tax breaks, the U.S. senators - several of whom are millionaires - cost the district government thousands of dollars in tax revenue, a review by The Kansas City Star shows.

Because lawmakers generally must be residents of the states they represent, district officials said they did not qualify for the Homestead Deduction, which is for people who are domiciled in Washington and make the city their permanent residence.

A quick review of the names reveals that seven of these Senators are members of the Senate Finance Committee, currently leading the charge in the nonprofit sector to root out just this sort of abuse.

The list of Senators taking the deduction, which includes not only a third of the Finance Committee but also its ranking Democratic member, is here (asterisks indicate Finance Committee members):

Wayne Allard, CO
*Max Baucus, MT
*Jeff Bingaman, NM
Sam Brownback, KS
Richard Burr, NC
Maria Cantwell, WA
Susan Collins, ME
*Kent Conrad, ND
*Michael Crapo, ID
Pete Domenici, NM
Michael Enzi, WY
Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX
James Inhofe, OK
*James Jeffords, VT
Edward Kennedy, MA
Frank Lautenberg, NJ
Joseph Lieberman, CT
*Jay Rockefeller, WV
*Olympia Snowe, ME
Arlen Specter, PA
George Voinovich, OH

Update: Contact these seven senators and ask them to explain how it is that they can claim this deduction when their primary residence should be in the state they represent and what they plan to do about this perceived abuse:

Max Baucus, MT
511 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2651
(202) 224-0515 (Fax)
(800) 332-6106 (from MT)
(202) 224-1998 (TDD)

Jeff Bingaman, NM
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3102
Toll-free (in NM): 1-800-443-8658
DC: (202) 224-5521
TDD: (202) 224-1792
Fax: (202) 224-2852

Kent Conrad, ND
530 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3403
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776

Michael Crapo, ID
239 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6142
Fax: (202) 228-1375
TDD: (202) 224-2806

James Jeffords, VT
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5141

Jay Rockefeller, WV
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6472

Olympia Snowe, ME
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1903
v: (202) 224-5344
f: (202) 224-1946

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