The decision by the Senate to attach small business tax relief to its minimum-wage bill ensured the inclusion by House lawmakers of a similar package in their minimum-wage measure.The catalyst for the bill was the Senate linkage of small business relief to the minimum-wage boost. Although House Democrats initially threatened to "blue slip" the Senate bill - send it back because it contains tax provisions, violating the constitutional requirement that revenue legislation originate in the House - they eventually acted on H.R. 976, a bill that contained some provisions similar to the Senate measure.

"The theory is that the small business relief will offset some of the costs of the higher minimum wage to employers," said Bob Scharin, senior tax analyst at Thomson Tax and Accounting.

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