Saturday, October 9, 2004

Federal legislation would aid speedway


Bunning pushed new tax law

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

FORT MITCHELL - The Kentucky Speedway will get a tax break under a major overhaul of the nation's tax law that is moving through Congress.

The Jumpstart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Act, which has passed the U.S. House and is awaiting Senate approval this weekend.

The bill includes $136 billion in new tax breaks and a $10.1 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. In addition to professional auto racing venues there are tax breaks for an array of industries, including thoroughbred racing, construction companies, architects, engineering firms and oil and gas companies.

The Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, 35 miles southwest of Cincinnati, will benefit when it eventually expands, said track President Mark Simendinger.

The speedway is trying to attract a Nextel Cup NASCAR race. The speedway will expand if it receives a Nextel Cup race, Simendinger said.

At that point track owners will, under the JOBS Act, be allowed to accelerate depreciation of the expansion and take bigger annual tax writeoffs, Simendinger said.

"Let's say we spend $10 million on an expansion," Simendinger said. "Now, we would have to depreciate that amount over 30 years, meaning we could deduct $330,000 a year.

"Under the new law, we could do that over eight years and take a deduction of $1.25 million each year," he said.

The bill was pushed in part by Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican.

Bunning, who is running for re-election this year against Democrat Dan Mongiardo, was on the conference committee of legislators that reconciled differences in earlier versions of the bill.

The bill did have some critics.

Government watchdog groups said that expanded definition of manufacturing companies was just one example of what was wrong with a bill that they contend was stuffed full of tax breaks by lawmakers anxious to curry favor with different groups right before an election.

"This bill is an orgy of 276 special-interest tax breaks and giveaways that amounts to a cynical attempt to bribe swing states in one of the closest elections in our nation's history," complained Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The House approved the corporate tax bill by a lopsided 280-141 vote Thursday night with 73 Democrats joining 207 Republicans in support of the measure.

The Associated Press contributed.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
County will wall off Powers' courtroom
Drug case proceeds; judge had testified
West Nile became man's Twilight Zone
Four arrested in teen's death

ELECTION 2004
Bush, Kerry clash in heated rematch
In their own words
Clooney called '60s liberal
Senate races rake in bucks
Greenhills voters can beef up home fund
Partner benefits could be curtailed
Wording of Ohio's gay-marriage ban called sweeping
Same goals but different paths
Election board vote tied on registration residency

IN THE TRISTATE
Withrow remembered
Cincinnati's 'brownouts' coming to an end Sunday
U.S. citizenship grows by 70
Drake Center flier called 'outrageous'
Findlay Market to be open Sundays in '05
Frailey may get 3.9% raise
Schools cope with crowds
Local news briefs
3 more Mason students charged in stolen gun
Bond $600K in Miami rape case
Neighborhood briefs
State sues over fitness funds
Big weekend may boost science museum
Public safety briefs
Eighth-graders in Madeira gather items for troops

REVIEWS
CSO program luminous
Ballet opens exuberantly

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Good Things Happening
It's Saturday evening, time to go to church

LIVES REMEMBERED
Bernard Roeckers, XU athlete

KENTUCKY STORIES
Police seek assailant in store robbery
Trial date reset in abuse suit against diocese
Track upgrade ahead of plan
Family battles Bellevue for a handicapped spot
Lawmakers examine two health options
Keeneland dares to mix history, hi tech
N. Ky. news briefs
Federal legislation would aid speedway
Covington man died before fire at his apartment