WASHINGTON -- House tax conferees are proposing to extend an education tax credit through June 30, 1995, a move that may portend similar treatment for the tax exemptions for mortgage revenue bonds and industrial development bonds, some congressional aides and lobbyists said yesterday.
But other aides and lobbyists said the fact that the House conferees did not make a similar proposal to their Senate counterparts on the mortgage bond and IDB exemptions indicates they intend to continue insisting that the two be made permanent. Both exemptions expired June 30, 1992.
The conflicting interpretations came after the House conferees on Friday night released their latest offer to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of President Clinton's budget and tax package. The two sides spent last week trading offers, and the Senate is expected to make a new proposal later today.
Each time they have made an offer to the other side, House and Senate tax conferees have held firm to their differing positions on the bond provisions in their bills.
House conferees still want to make the mortgage bond and IDB exemptions permanent, and they want to retain in the final bill provisions on creating enterprise zones and removing volume cap restrictions on high-speed rail bonds.
Senate conferees still want the mortgage bond and IDB exemptions extended through June 30, 1994, and they continue to want the House's enterprise zone and high-speed rail bond provisions left out of the final bill.
Until Friday, the House also had been insisting on a permanent extension of a tax credit for employer-provided education assistance, while their Senate counterparts insisted on a June 30, 1994, expiration date. But in their latest offer, the House lawmakers proposed breaking the logjam on that provision by offering a June 30, 1995, expiration date for the education credit.
That proposal could be an early signal that the mortgage bond and IDB exemptions and other expired provisions in the two bills could be resolved in the same way. "I wonder if they'll end up with a June 30, 1995, date on everything." said one municipal lobbyist.
But the development could also be viewed as positive for the mortgage bond and IDB exemptions, said another lobbyist. John C. Murphy, the executive director of the Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, said he is encouraged that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., is still insisting on a permanent extension for the two bond exemptions.
"If he were going to propose a temporary extension for them, I think he would have already done it," Murphy, said.
John T. McEvoy, the executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies, said "We know we'll win if the House sticks to its guns."
The conferees appear to be avoiding the approach they normally take to the expired provisions, said an aide to a tax committee member. Unlike in past years, the conferees have not agreed to one expiration date to cover all the tax breaks, the aide said.
So far, the conferees have reached an agreement on two of the eight expired provisions: They have decided to make the low-income housing tax credit permanent, and to extend the research and experimentation tax credit through June 30,1994.
If the Senate accepts the House proposal on the education credit, that would be three different resolutions to three expired provisions.
"The thing that starts to present itself as a possibility is that we do them [all] differently," said the aide. "That's the shape of the thing as it appears now."