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NCTA, NAB Praise Corporate Tax-Cut Bill

Broadcasters and cable operators may continue to fight over the price or retrans, but they are in agreement on tax reform that would keep more money in their respective coffers.

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association Friday praised the Senate Finance Committee's passage of its version of tax reform--the House this week passed its version. Both lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%.

“We applaud the Senate Finance Committee’s effort to approve a comprehensive tax reform bill that will make our tax system fairer and more competitive," said NCTA. "Importantly, we welcome the Committee’s proposal to permanently lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, in addition to improvements made to the expensing language, the retention of the advertising deduction, and a “thin cap” approach to interest deductibility."

"For decades, the cable industry has been creating jobs in communities all over America by investing hundreds of billions of dollars to build robust broadband networks and create the best TV content in the world. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to take the best of the House and Senate bills and pass comprehensive tax reform that will encourage even more investment, innovation and economic expansion.”

Following House passage of its tax bill Thursday (Nov. 16), the National Association of Broadcasters applauded.

"NAB congratulates the House of Representatives on today’s passage of comprehensive tax reform legislation. Local broadcasters are especially appreciative that the legislation preserves businesses’ ability to fully and immediately deduct the cost of advertising expense. Broadcasters are supportive of a modernized tax code that spurs economic growth, creates high-paying jobs and puts money back in Americans’ pockets. NAB looks forward to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the Capitol to continue advancing legislation that achieves these goals."

There had been some talk of no longer allowing immediate deduction of ad expenses in the year they were incurred, but both bills retained that provision. The House and Senate versions must still be reconciled.

In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate, the Senate bill as amended this week by Senate Finance Committee chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) expands the definition of property eligible for 100% first-year expensing to film, television and live theatrical productions, something the film and TV industry was pushing for.

Related: House Ways and Means Passes Corporate Tax Rollback

The White House called passage by the finance committee "another important step to delivering historic tax cuts and reform for hard-working families, " the idea being that allowing corporations to keep more of their earnings translates to "more jobs, higher wages and a booming economy that raises all boats, as it were.

The Communications Workers of America, which represents the heads of middle-class households, saw both bills differently. The union pointed out that the corporate tax cuts in the Senate version were permanent but the individual tax cuts were temporary, and said both versions hurt middle class families. "Working people are saying no to this outrageous money grab by and for the wealthy. Members of Congress will keep hearing from us until they get the message and vote no on this legislation."

CWA represents 700,000 public and private sector workers, including in broadcasting, cable and telecommunications.

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.