CenturyLink Asks Congress to Extend Tax Breaks

CenturyLink CEO Glen Post wants Congress to preserve a provision in the tax law that he says helped the company invest in broadband buildouts and upgrades, which is just what the Obama Administration, the FCC and Congress are all trying to encourage.

In a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate, leading off with new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Post said on the Congress' tax reform list should be making permanent, or at least extending, accelerated and bonus depreciation provisions adopted to help goose the economy out of the Great Recession.

According to a website dedicated to the issue, the 50% depreciation bonus helps businesses cut their tax bills on new equipment purchases by allowing them to write off more of the cost. The incentives were to have expired in 2013, but Congress renewed them, and now must do so again or they expire Dec. 31.

Post said the provisions have helped his company invest billions of dollars to launch a gigabit network and said it continues to invest hundreds of millions in residential speed upgrades, fiber-to-tower.

The other side of that, however, is that Congress' failure to act to extend or make permanent the tax breaks "will lead to a spike in our company’s tax obligations, which will slow the pace of investment and draw resources away from jobs at a time when the economy is again facing challenges," CenturyLink warned.

He said he supported long-term, broader, tax reform, but in the interim, extending the 50% bonus depreciation will have "immediate impact on the economy and our customers."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.