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Spoonful of pork may help bitter economic pill go down

  • Story Highlights
  • Senate's financial rescue plan includes incentives that may attract votes
  • Proposal would exempt a specific kind of arrow from excise tax
  • Filmmakers would get a $478 million in incentives to produce movies in U.S.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate's financial rescue plan may have a better chance of passage because it's padded with pork that may be tasty enough to get reluctant House members to bite.

Lawmakers added billions in tax incentives to the bailout bill to help it pass the House.

Lawmakers added billions in tax incentives to the bailout bill to help it pass the House.

Most of the $110 billion in additions, such as a tax credit for research and development and an increase in insurance for bank accounts, would have broad economic impact.

The benefits of others, though, may not be so evident to most taxpayers.

For example, the proposal includes an excise tax exemption for a very specific type of arrow used by child archers. View details of the incentives »

According to Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group, current law places an excise tax of 39 cents on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer or importer of any shaft of a type used to produce certain types of arrows. Video Watch where's the pork? »

"This proposal would exempt from the excise tax any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means to enhance the spine of the shaft used in the manufacture of an arrow that measures 5/16 of an inch or less and is unsuited for use with a bow with a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or more," Ellis wrote.

The estimated cost of the proposal is $2 million over 10 years, he wrote. Follow the progress of the $700 billion bailout plan »

Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Gordon Smith, a Republican, were the initial sponsors of the arrow provision. According to Bloomberg News, the earmark provision would be worth $200,000 a year to Rose City Archery in Myrtle Point, Oregon.

A Wyden aide said the Oregon senator did not ask that the provision be added to bailout package, but that doesn't fly with Ellis.

"The bottom line is, this is benefiting a very few manufacturers, and I think most Americans who are either concerned about the bailout package or concerned about the economy are going to be wondering why a provision benefiting wooden arrow manufacturers is catching a ride on the package," Ellis said.

The Taxpayers for Common Sense also reports that the proposal includes such mouthwatering morsels as these:

  • Creation of a seven-year cost recovery period for construction of a motorsports racetrack: Track owners currently follow a seven-year depreciation schedule and write each year's depreciation off their taxes. The IRS wanted to increase the depreciation timetable to 15 years, which would mean the track owner's depreciation would be cut in half. The measure in the keeps the seven-year depreciation schedule for two years and would cost taxpayers $100 million.
  • Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation: The measure would allow the plaintiffs who won damages from Exxon Mobile for the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez to average the award over three years rather than treating it as income in a single year. The measure was backed by Alaska Rep. Don Young and would cost taxpayers $49 million.
  • Secure rural schools and community self-determination program: The program replaces revenue rural communities used to enjoy from the sale of federal forest land. The measure is sponsored by lawmakers from Oregon and Idaho. The program would cost taxpayers $3.3 billion.
  • Deduction of state and local sales taxes: The measure allows citizens who do not pay state income taxes to deduct the amount of sales tax they pay over a year from their federal income tax for two additional years. States that benefit include Texas, Nevada, Florida, Washington and Wyoming. The measure would cost taxpayers $3.3 billion.
  • Provisions related to film and television productions: In order to keep movie production in the U.S., production companies would be allowed to deduct the cost of producing the films from their taxes. Rep. Diane Watson, D-California, has been one of the program's biggest supporters. The measure would cost taxpayers $478 million over 10 years.
  • Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products, wool research fund and wool duty refunds: The measure helps U.S. worsted wool fabric makers and clothing manufacturers. The bill extends provisions through 2014 or 2015 that were originally sponsored by Reps. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, and Melissa Bean, D-Illinois, in 2007. The measure would cost taxpayers $148 million.
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  • Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa: The measure would extend for two years provisions meant to help economic development in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. The measure would cost taxpayers $33 million.
  • Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters: The measure would allow employers to provide benefits to employees who commute to work via bicycle, such as help purchasing and maintaining a bicycle. The measure would cost taxpayers $10 million.
  • CNN's Scott J. Anderson, Brian Todd and Jim Kavanagh contributed to this report.

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