Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced the Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008 as Democrats and Republicans haggle over how to pay for extending expiring tax provisions.

The two parties are locked in a battle over whether to respect pay-as-you-go rules for financing tax breaks. The Democrats have promised to abide by the so-called PayGo rules, but Republicans have resisted attempts to raise taxes.

The bill acts as a substitute to the HR 6049 bill recently passed by the House and extends tax incentives such as the college tuition deduction, state and local sales tax deductions, and business tax credits for research and technology innovation. The legislation would also facilitate independent energy solutions, such as the production and use of wind and solar energy, biofuels, and carbon sequestration technologies, and includes provisions to improve transportation and domestic fuel security, and energy and conservation efficiency.

"It's time to get this done for the working families and businesses that depend on these tax cuts and incentives like providing relief on college tuition or protecting middle-income working families from the AMT," said Baucus (pictured). "Continued support from all sectors of the business community keep me hopeful that my Senate colleagues will weigh the importance of this bill for our nation's energy future and the millions of working American families and businesses that depend on these provisions. Fiscally responsible, reasonable offsets and protection from the AMT for families are the right choice for America, and particularly good reasons why senators should support this bill at the next opportunity."

The proposal increases the exemption amounts for the AMT to $46,200 for individuals and $69,950 for couples filing jointly from the current level of $44,350 for individuals and $66,250 for couples.

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