July 30, 2013

Tuesday Tax Tradeoff: Giving Kids A “Head Start” OR Tax Breaks for Corporate Jets

By William Rice, Policy Consultant, Americans for Tax Fairness

Tuesday Tradeoff HeadstartLow-income children receive an early boost from Head Start, which gets them ready to learn and helps them stay healthy so they can succeed in school and beyond. Corporate executives with their own private jets get a jump on the competition, avoiding all the hassles of commercial air travel. The question is which group is more deserving of taxpayer support?

The across-the-board federal budget cut known as the “sequester” is forcing Head Start to drop thousands of children from the program, eliminate transportation, reduce service center days and hours and lay off teachers. 2013 Budget Cut: $400 million.

As equipment ages, companies are allowed to deduct the annual loss in value from their taxable income. Commercial airlines have to wait seven years to write off their jumbo jets, but corporations that own private jets enjoy a loophole (p. 4) that allows them to “depreciate” their Cessnas, Gulfstreams and other luxury rides over just five years, even though the planes last for decades. Annual Tax Break: $370 million.