A better meal tax deduction is still part of the congressional tax package -- but its chances for survival appear slim.
The Senate Finance Committee approved a $792 billion tax-cut bill that includes a provision to gradually raise the truck driver meal tax deduction from 50% to 80% by 2007. Under current law, the full 80% deduction is scheduled for 2008.
The trucking tax break did not make it into the House version of the bill. That bill does contain an expansion of the current law to include everyone, not just those regulated by the federal Department of Transportation.
Trucking industry lobbyists are hoping the Senate provision will give them a chance to negotiate quicker action on the tax break, perhaps as soon as 2004, as the Senate and House bills go to conference.
But even if they are able to broker a better deal for truck drivers, the overall package faces a veto by President Clinton, who says the nation cannot afford the overall tax cuts sought by the Republican-controlled Congress.