Legislation to block the "fiscal cliff" is heading to President Barack Obama for his signature. The Senate voted on a bill in the early hours of January 1, 2013, just hours after the deadline expired. The House of Representatives voted just before 10pm.
In addition to only raising income taxes on individuals making more than $400,000 per year and couples making $450,000 per year or more, the bill could bring good news to some of Iowa's top industries.
It calls for an extension of tax cuts for middle class Americans, and extends the farm bill and wind energy production tax credit, which could help many Iowans.
The 2008 farm bill ended September 30th. Since then farmers have been waiting for congress to pass a new bill creating subsidies for corn, soybeans, and other crops.
Congress voted to extend the farm bill through September 30th of this year, which also continues to fund the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. It continues "dairy product price support," stabilizing milk prices and avoiding the potential "dairy cliff" that could have spiked milk prices to more than six dollars a gallon.
Had congress not acted programs would have defaulted to an outdated formula based on the agriculture industry in the 1940's.
The new legislation also brings good news to Iowa's wind energy business. It extends the production tax credit until January 1, 2014. That means any wind energy projects that begin this year would qualify.
The credit was a hot button issue during the election with President Obama in favor of extending it and Governor Romney against it. All the uncertainty led to hundreds of Iowans getting laid off, both at Clipper Windpower in Cedar Rapids and at Siemens Energy in Fort Madison.
An extension of the production tax credit was something the Iowa delegation had pushed for throughout this legislative session. It was something republicans and democrats in Iowa agreed on.
However, the bill congress passed does not extend the payroll tax cut, which means you'll likely see more money taken out of your paycheck this year.
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