Lawmakers say the act will help United Steelworker and Delphi retirees

Staff report


The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved a package of tax-credit extensions, including measures supported by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Brown and Portman co-sponsored an amendment to the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act that would extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit for retired workers who lost their health coverage when the companies they worked for entered into bankruptcy or moved overseas.

The act now moves on to debate and a vote in the full Senate, then to the House of Representatives. The lawmakers said the provision would especially help United Steelworkers and Delphi retirees.

“This amendment means that hardworking families who lost their health care coverage, pension and other benefits will receive the assistance they need to help pay their health care bills,” Brown said in a news release.

“These 20,000 families rely on the HCTC for affordable health insurance after their pensions were terminated, and we should make it a top priority to help these hard-working families regain the financial security that our government took from them,” Portman added.

The HCTC provides a 72.5 percent tax cut to eligible workers, so they have to pay only a portion of their qualified health insurance. Brown and Portman’s amendment extends the tax credit at the same rate for two more years.

Brown also co-sponsored an amendment that extends tax relief for struggling homeowners who have had their mortgage debt reduced.

At a January news conference in Youngstown, Brown pitched his plan to exempt homeowners from having to pay income taxes on the reduced amount.

Also included in the legislation was a Brown-supported tax credit to build on a program that provides incentives to community developers to invest in low-income areas.

All three tax credits expired at the end of 2013.

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