A legislative odyssey ended last week with passage by the U.S. Senate of a complex corporate tax bill, which has been hailed by supporters as vital reform and panned by critics as an election-year, special-interest payoff.
Whatever the politics, the changes made to the corporate tax code are significant.
When signed by President Bush, the legislation will repeal an export subsidy, which had caused a number of problems with the European Union and World Trade Organization, and lower the tax rate on U.S. manufacturers to 32%. The definition of manufacturer for tax purposes has also been expanded to accommodate a wide range of business operations.
It remains to be seen how effective these changes will be in boosting American manufacturing, but one thing is certain: something had to be done. Recent years have been tough on manufacturers, as thousands of Mississippians know only too well.
Far from perfect, we remain cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the so-called American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 leads to a more robust manufacturing sector.