Off the Cliff: NASCAR, Algae Growers Benefit

If you were worried that the United States was poised to fall off a fiscal cliff you can take heart: lawmakers have passed a bill for President Obamas signature, one that will raise taxes on most Americans while keeping the federal government humming at least for the next few months.

Motorsports Entertainment

Buried within the bill are numerous amendments or sections, with at least three benefiting motoring-related industries. For instance, under Sec. 312 of H.R. 8, an extension of the 7-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes is included. This deal rewards operators of certain NASCAR tracks that make improvements to grandstands, buildings, parking lots and other facilities, offering an equivalent of $70 million in tax credits.

raining money
It’s raining money in Washington, DC.
Buyers of two- or three-wheel electric vehicles essentially motorcycles can take a federal tax credit for up to $2,500. That credit was initially rolled out as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and was set to expire. Legislators have earmarked $4 million to keep the EV bike pump primed throughout 2013 see Sec. 403.

Alternate Fuels

In Sec. 404, manufacturers of cellulosic biofuel will enjoy a tax benefit too. Under the new law, the category was changed from cellulosic biofuel to second generation biofuel to include fuels derived from various types of biomass or organic carbon materials. First generation biofuels are derived from vegetable oils and sugars found in arable crops, while second generation biofuels include algae, waste oils and municipal waste. A special allowance for cellulosic biofuel plant property can be found in Sec. 410.

Title IV Energy Tax Extenders also doles out extensions for various credits including for some that expired a year ago on December 31, 2011. Those extensions are retroactive and provide a benefit through the end of 2013. In Sec. 402, a tax credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property is given and in Sec. 405 incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel are outlined. SS 411 and 412 provide additional relief including the extension of the alternative fuels excise tax credit. Thats a 50 cent per gallon tax credit for energy producers by the way.

Political Largesse

While some people continue to express consternation for the now long ago bail outs of General Motors and Chrysler, Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike are looking out for their constituents, especially for their corporate interests. As for mass transit, rail fans should know that short-line and regional operators will also benefit and can claim a 50 percent tax credit for maintaining tracks that they own or lease. That $331 million package is one of the largest gifts offered in the 2013 fiscal cliff deal.

Although a deal has been reached, some 77 percent of Americans can expect to pay higher taxes in 2013 than they did in 2012. Moreover, the deal does nothing to attack Americas extreme debt, now pegged at $16.3 trillion or about $52,580 for every citizen.

See AlsoWhat Tax Breaks Are Available for Fuel Efficient Vehicles?

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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