While the congressional hopper is churning, analysts say compromise between Republicans and Democrats over specific tax proposals may be difficult to achieve because a good deal of political maneuvering is already taking place in preparation for the presidential elections. Nevertheless, momentum and support for a tax-cut bill are building, especially in light of last year's budget surpluses. "Money is burning a hole in the pockets of lawmakers,' says Thomas P. Ochsenschlager, a tax partner in the Washington, DC, office of accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP. "They're anxious to give their constituents some tax cuts."
Republicans are pushing for a $15 billion tax-cut package, which is likely to include some adjustment in the marriage tax penalty. As part of the package, the GOP has also agreed to wall off a portion of the budget surplus to help shore up Social Security. President Clinton, on the other hand, maintains that the bulk of the surplus should go to relieving the strain on the Social Security system.
While the debate over the size and specifics of a possible tax bill continue, advocates of tax relief for entrepreneurs believe they can muster enough support this year to pass their proposals. Here are some of the more important small-business tax measures on the horizon, as well as the outlook for their passage.