Once the two reconcile the bills, the minimum wage will be increased for the first time since 1997.
the $2.10-an-hour increase would happen in three stages
- to $5.85 per hour 60 days after being signed into law
- would then rise to $6.55 per hour one year later
- to $7.25 after two years
about $4,000 per year extra to a minimum-wage employee working full time
237,000 workers (16 percent of the workforce) would be affected
centerpiece of the Democratic party’s 100-hour domestic legislative agenda
The House had passed a bill that dealt solely with the minimum wage, while the US Senators tacked on several business-related provisions.
- Five-year extension of a tax credit for businesses that hire poor people, high-risk youths and veterans on government assistance
- Extension till 2010 of the ability of small businesses to deduct up to $112,000 in capital costs
- Extension to March 31, 2008, of tax breaks to shorten depreciation periods for restaurant and retail properties
- Increase in the threshold for businesses eligible to use cash method of accounting from average gross receipts of $5 million to $10 million
- Protection against the IRS of businesses that use professional employer organizations for payroll and other human resources functions
- Elimination of tax deductions for punitive damages, fines and penalties.
- Limit on allowable tax-deferred income at $1 million, or at 100 percent of the average annual salary over a five-year period.
- Loopholes would be closed for tax avoidance schemes by companies that set up foreign tax shelters.
- Companies caught hiring illegal immigrants would be prohibited from getting federal contracts for up to 10 years.