Obama pushes tax break plan for businesses

BELTSVILLE, Md Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:43pm EDT

1 of 3. President Barack Obama tours Stromberg Metal Works with CEO Robert Gawne in Beltsville, Maryland, October 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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BELTSVILLE, Md (Reuters) - President Barack Obama touted a proposal on Friday to provide tax relief for businesses, calling on Democrats and Republicans to join together after Tuesday's election to boost the economy.

Days before Republicans are expected to make major gains in congressional polls, Obama, a Democrat, highlighted a plan that has so far gained little political traction despite what the White House sees as having bipartisan appeal.

The proposal would let businesses of all sizes take immediate deductions for certain capital expenses between September of this year and the end of 2011.

Small businesses can currently deduct 50 percent of some capital investments immediately rather than accounting for the costs over time.

"Political season is going to be over soon. And when it (is), all of us are going to have a responsibility, Democrats and Republicans, to work together wherever we can to promote jobs and growth," Obama, flanked by giant rolls of sheet metal, said after touring a local business in Maryland.

"The idea I am announcing today is one that both Democrats and Republicans should be able to support ... It is a simple proposal. It would make a serious difference for this company and others like it."

The Obama administration made the proposal in September. It released a report on Friday outlining its benefits, including $150 billion in tax relief to businesses over two years. It would cover some 2 million small and large companies.

Obama's remarks indicate the White House's intention to focus on the issue in the coming months even if Democrats lose majorities in one or both houses of Congress on Tuesday.

"It'll put a dent in the jobless rate that we're working on right now," Obama said.

"As we continue to dig out from the worst recession in 80 years, our mission is to accelerate that recovery and encourage more rapid growth," he said, commenting on the release of an advance report on the U.S. economy in the third quarter.

Obama administration officials expressed hope Republicans would give the plan support.

"The last month or two, you haven't seen as many Republicans coming out embracing ideas that the president's putting forward and trying to discuss constructively how to move them forward," one senior administration official told reporters.

"One would hope that in November, December, next year that people start looking at the underlying economic narrative proposals and coming together to move them forward."

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Kim Dixon and Alister Bull; Editing by Jerry Norton)