Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate Finance Committee chairman, along with Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) this week introduced a small business tax relief package as a complement to legislation that will increase the minimum wage. The tax bill includes language relating to section 179 of the tax code. The bill would allow a 100% deduction of the cost of most personal property purchased for use in a business.

This particular section of the tax code already benefits cattlemen; in 2003, the annual dollar limit was expanded to $100,000 and the annual investment limit to $400,000. Last year, these expanded limits were extended through 2009.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association sent a letter to Baucus this week that said, "By its very nature, beef production is a capital-intensive business. In order to carry out day-to-day activities on a farm or ranch, producers are required to invest significant amounts of money in depreciable property such as machinery." NCBA pointed out that expensing is a valuable tool for cattle producers and asked that a continuation of expanded dollar and investment limits be included in any business tax relief effort.
-- Burt Rutherford