WASHINGTON - The Senate failed to begin debate by late yesterday on an urban aid tax package that would expand the use of tax-exempt bonds in enterprise zones, renew two expired bond programs, and ease various tax law bond curbs.
Congressional aides had expected the Senate to begin considering the bill yesterday as part of an effort to move it quickly to a conference with the House urban aid bill. But the Senate spent the day debating a transportation appropriations bill.
Tax aides said the Senate is still expected to take up the bill this week. Despite the delay, municipal lobbyists said they still held out hope that the two measures could be reconciled and a final version approved by Congress before lawmakers adjourn Aug. 13 for a four-week recess.
Failure to do so would leave in limbo about a dozen tax breaks that expired June 30. They include the tax exemptions for mortgage revenue bonds and small-issue industrial development bonds and the low-income housing tax credit.
The bill before the Senate, approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week, would renew those tax breaks and extend them through Dec. 31, 1993. The House bill would make them permanent.
Among other provisions, the finance committee's bill would permit issuance of a new category of exempt-facility bond, the proceeds of which could be used to purchase land, buildings, and equipment used by enterprise zone businesses.