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Pork-barrel projects make it into fiscal cliff legislation

5:37 PM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA (WXIA) - In the wake of the fiscal cliff legislation that moved rapidly through Congress over the past few days, US News & World Report took a look at what other elements were in the $4 billion bill.

Rum producers have been taxed $14 for every gallon of rum produced outside the US and sold here. Monies generated by the tax go to aid for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. That extra tax continues under the new law, giving Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands an additional $480 million in aid coming directly from rum production.

Motorists purchasing two and three-wheeled plug-in electric scooters will continue to receive a 10 percent tax credit - up to $2,500 - to help provide an incentive for people to purchase alternative energy-based transportation.

Motorsport race track owners - like those that own NASCAR tracks - get to deduct more than $40 billion each year for their tracks, bleachers and concession stands. The tax break is similar to one that helps owners of amusement parks. In order to qualify, the tracks must have hosted an event on their premises sometime in the past three years.

Algae and asparagus growers get a tax break as well under the new legislation - up to $59 million that goes to algae growers to research and work on finding a way to produce biofuel from the plant. Asparagus farmers get an extension of a break they've had for the past few years due to a spike in foreign asparagus imports.

The deal also extends the entire farm bill before Congress, which allows the nation to avoid the so-called "dairy cliff" - which would have sent milk prices skyrocketing to over $8 a gallon within the next couple of weeks.

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