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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hours after Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed a package of business incentives and unemployment assistance, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that he would bring only a few of the measures to the floor for a vote this month:

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What's in

Payroll tax exemption

Employers would be exempted from paying Social Security payroll taxes for every worker hired this year after being unemployed for at least 60 days. Employers would also get a $1,000 income tax credit for every new employee retained for 52 weeks, to be taken on the employer's 2011 income tax return.

Price tag: $13 billion over 10 years.

Conversion of tax-credit bonds

Certain school and energy projects would be allowed to replace their tax-credit bonds with Build America Bonds. The former provides a federal tax credit instead of paying interest; the latter guarantees a portion of the interest will come directly from the U.S. Treasury.

Price tag: about $2 billion over 10 years.

Reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund

The fund would receive $19.5 billion from the government's general fund, and the highway fund would stop making annual payments to the general fund as reimbursement for tax-exempt users of the highway program, such as state and local fleets and transit providers.

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