WASHINGTON-The Senate was prepared the week of June 3 to take up the minimum wage and small business tax bills passed by the House shortly before Memorial Day recess. Over Republican opposition, the House voted 266-162 on May 23 to raise the minimum wage 90 cents, to $5.15 per hour.
An amendment to exempt small businesses with annual gross sales of under $500,000 was defeated 229-196, because President Clinton threatened to veto the bill if it contained that provision.
A day earlier, by an overwhelming 414 to 10 vote, the House approved a bill designed to create tax breaks for small business and aid job creation in that sector.
Among other things, the bill increases the expensing limit for plant and equipment purchases from $17,500 to $25,000; reinstates the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, formerly called the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit, allowing companies to take tax deductions for the first-year wages of disadvantaged workers; and simplifies pension regulations and Subchapter S corporation rules.
Senate Democrats say they will seek modifications to the House minimum wage bill when it reaches the Senate floor.
Also, the Senate Finance Committee wants to add provisions to the small business tax package to simplify the federal test for determining ``independent contractor'' tax status.