Fiscal Cliff Bill Loaded With Pork

Hollywood, rum, and racetracks all got big breaks in the New Year's Day bill.

Last-minute legislation to avoid the so-called 'fiscal cliff' included goodies for a wide range of industries, including American asparagus farmers.
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Congress might have caught itself from falling over the fiscal cliff Tuesday, but the deal comes with a hefty price tag. Included in the $4 billion bill is an expiration of the payroll tax break, along with tax exemptions for everyone from the rum industry to NASCAR bigwigs. Here are five groups that are high-fiving each other over the breaks they got in the fiscal cliff deal.

[ENJOY: Political Cartoons on the Fiscal Cliff]

Rum Producers

It is U.S. policy to tax rum producers like Diageo and Bacardi nearly $14 for every gallon of rum they make outside the country and sell in the U.S. But the tax is merely gimmick that gets reinvested in the Virgin Islands and the Puerto Rico in the form of aid. The alcohol industry's more than $13/per gallon kickback has been extended as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. Pro Publica estimates the tax break gives Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands a total of $480 million in aid for rum production.

Electric Scooter Riders

People using electric scooters will continue to get a discount on their taxes. Drivers of two- and three-wheel plug-in electric vehicles get a tax break in the legislation. As a way to incentivize alternative energy transportation, Congress voted to continue to give 10 percent of the cost of the electric vehicle - up to $2,500 in tax credits to individuals who purchase plug-in wheels.


Making movies in America is big money, and Congress is doing its best to ensure the movie industry doesn't pack up and leave. Television and movie makers can continue to gross $15 million in breaks for filming in the U.S., $20 million for filming in low-income areas, an incentive for Hollywood that costs the country about $430 billion to maintain.

Motorsport Race Track Owners

A program that allows race track owners to deduct a total of more than $40 billion a year for their tracks, bleachers and concession stands also passed in the bill. Groups like NASCAR can continue to write off the maintenance costs of their tracks in a tax break that is similar to one amusement parks benefit from. The only catch is that the venue must have held an event on the premise sometime in the last three years.

Algae Growers

Congress voted to extend $59 million in tax credits for algae growers, who are trying to find a way to produce a biofuel from the plant.

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Corrected 1/04/12: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified asparagus farmers as recipients of aid in the fiscal cliff package.