Tax Reform Corrections on Hold

WHAT WAS ONCE EXPECTED to be an early bill in the next Congress to make technical corrections in this year's tax reform act apparently won't come that quickly.A well-connected tax lobbyist said he expected no bill before late 1987 or perhaps 1988 - bad news for the many interests who had hoped for quicker adjustments.

That view is supported by other private analysts, including the Brookings Institution's Henry Aaron who expects no technical corrections bill before third-quarter 1987.

Mr. Aaron says there will probably be two corrections bills as Congress deals in stages with the phased-in changes that begin in January.

He thinks that other matters - such as the Iran affair - are likely to take Congress' attention, and that with a long list of complex taxpayer complaints the legislators will probably move at a fairly leisurely pace to make corrections.

Whatever bill finally does result to amend tax reform will be a big yawner as far as general interest or broad impact, although it will of course be important to the various groups that seek the changes, Mr. Aaron says.

* * * *

IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE, the United States may start off the New Year with a big bash - at major trading partners.

Dec. 31 is the deadline the administration has set for the European Community to offer adequate compensation for the negative trade effects of Spain and Portugal's joining the EC.

If the EC does not satisfy U.S. demands for offsetting trade concessions, the United States, officials say, will retaliate by hiking restrictions on EC exports.

Brazil also faces a Dec. 31 deadline to open its small computers market wider to U.S. computer makers. If the administration decides Brazil hasn't done enough, the administration indicates it will retaliate against Brazilian exports.

The United States also may take trade reprisals against Japan around the turn of the year, if the Japanese don't relax their taxes and tariffs on U.S. wines and other alcoholic delights.

About the same time, the administration may make substantive changes in its duty-free program for imports from developing countries. Some of the more advanced of these nations may find some of their products suddenly subject to U.S. duties.

* * * *

JUST BECAUSE CANADA didn't impose a big user charge program of its own this year to help pay for maintaining and policing its waters and ports, doesn't mean it won't.

In fact, some think now that the United States has such a program it will be easier for the Canadians to act.

At least one knowledgeable Canadian maritime observer believes such a user charge system in his country is probably inevitable now.

The big problem, as he sees it, is for Canada to work out an approach that is both reasonable and as harmonious as possible with that of the United States because of the many waterways used by both countries.

* * * *

A KEY AIR CARGO DECISION probably won't be made before next year.

The Department of Transportation's administrative law judge reviewing applicants for airrights to Japan for the first express package service between the two countries with dedicated aircraft has given attorneys until Christmas to file final briefs. His recommendation to Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole, therefore, isn't likely before the start of 1987.

The companies applying for the small package rights, which are expected to be lucrative, include: Federal Express Corp., International Parcel Express Inc. (a joint venture of DHL Corp. and United Parcel Service) and Orion Air, a Raleigh, N.C., carrier proposing a service all package forwarders could use.

* * * *

STATE DEPARTMENT TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS are growing impatient with the Swiss government over a long-standing aviation issue.

Earlier this year, the two countries reached tentative agreement on a new aviation accord granting Swissair rights to additional U.S. cities and American carriers the right to their own check-in counters at Swiss airports, among other things.

There hasn't been much progress so far, a U.S. official said last week about Switzerland's promises on the check-in issue. We need to go back and see why. The agreement still hasn't been ratified, he added.

U.S. carriers have complained for some time about Swiss regulations prohibiting them from es tablishing their own ground handling services. The regulations, they say, effectively cut them off from their customers at Swiss

airports and give Swissair an important competitive advantage.

* * * *

RELATIONS ARE SOMEWHAT CHILLY between the House Interior Committee and the U.S. Department of Interior going into the 100th Congress.

Mining and Natural Resources Subcommittee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., told a group of western states energy industry officials that in the last Congress Interior officials were content to appear before his subcommittee and criticize pending proposals on minerals leasing without offering substantive or constructive recommendations.

Rep. Rahall called the lack of cooperation a very dangerous situation. The congressman also said he has no plans to make coal leasing legislation a priority issue next year unless an official proposal is submitted by Interior. He added that coal leasing and reformation of laws governing railroad ownership of coal lands must be dealt with in separate legislation.

* * * *

FIELD AND BALCONY: Orrin Pilkey, a Duke University geologist, is warning the insurance industry against voluntarily insuring beachfront property seriously endangered by the sea.

A Pilkey slide show to support his warning included a picture of workmen on a new building in South Carolina pausing to fish right off the balcony.

His suggested rule of thumb: One should never be able to fish from a condominium.

For the full story: Log In, Register for Free or Subscribe