Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tea Party's Rise Gives Business Pause

Business leaders and lobbyists are increasingly worried that the election of tea party-backed Republican candidates to Congress might threaten their priorities next year, fearing that these candidates' anti-spending fervor and opposition to special tax breaks would jeopardize prized programs. Business leaders clearly prefer a Republican-controlled Congress to a Democratic one, judging from their statements, endorsements and campaign contributions. They cite low taxes, less regulation and certainty in the business environment as among their top priorities in Washington, and many see Republicans as more responsive on these topics. But amid that support, some executives and lobbyists say they are growing spooked by the populist rhetoric they are hearing from some tea-party Republicans. Some candidates have said they want to take aim at a $30 billion annual package of tax breaks for a range of businesses—among them Wall Street firms, the timber industry, fast-food restaurants and the owners of NASCAR racetracks. Also in the line of fire are programs that many businesses have backed or at least quietly accepted as crisis measures, including the stimulus bill, the Wall Street and auto-industry rescues, the now-expired "cash-for-clunkers" car trade-in initiative and the temporary homebuyer's tax credit...more

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