Washington (Nov. 20, 2003) — Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Committee on Finance, has asked the Transportation Department for copies of any documents it may have regarding an abusive scheme that allows major corporations to claim huge tax breaks using the nation's highways, subways, airports and water lines. Grassley said he also plans to make the effective date of his legislation to shut down these shelters today instead of the date of enactment.
Under these schemes, municipalities are paid an up-front accommodation fee to lease their infrastructure to the tax shelter promoters. The cash received by the municipality, however, pales in comparison to the federal tax benefits received by the corporations, which are able to depreciate taxpayer-funded bridges, subways, and rail systems as a result of the lease. One municipal manager described these transactions as, "People giving him money which he never had to pay back, for doing something that he was already doing."
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