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Navigating the complicated interests of tax reform

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2017 file photo Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

UPDATE: A clarification regarding this story about the controversial tax bill in Congress and specifically a measure about how much private plane companies should pay.

We reported Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, D, sponsored the measure. It ensures private plane companies don’t have to pay the so called “ticket taxes” when they are simply sitting in storage.

While Senator Brown has supported exempting these companies from excise taxes as recently as February of this year, he is not the sponsor of this particular amendment.

His office also says it isn’t a new tax break, and only clears up confusion between those plane companies and the IRS over existing law.

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These are turbulent times on Capitol Hill, with tempers flaring over tax reform.

One flash point; a measure that could lower taxes for those who own or lease private jets.

Back in 2011, Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown railed against even the appearance of tax cuts for jet owners, saying the GOP was only hurting itself while helping the wealthy.

But Brown sponsored a measure in the current tax bill that some argue is a break for the rich.

The Hill reports it would exempt jet owners for paying certain costs related to upkeep and maintenance.

Private owners already pay a higher fuel tax than commercial airlines do, and so some say they should not have to pay the so-called ticket tax -- especially since they don't typically issue taxes.

Brown's office was quoted as saying it in no way cuts taxes for private jet owners.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that the amendment is bipartisan, and backed by Brown's fellow Ohio lawmaker Republican Rob Portman.

The article also points out that Ohio is home to two private jet companies, implying that the proposal may be more about state loyalties than anything else -- just one example of how the fine print in a 400-page bill could lead to more fights when Congress returns.


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