Obama Moves to Ease Taxes for Business

U.S. media reports quote administration officials as saying President Barack Obama plans to propose a package of tax breaks for small businesses this week.

Mr. Obama is expected to announce a plan Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio, that will allow businesses to deduct 100 percent of the cost of new capital investments from their taxes through 2011. The proposal is expected to cost more than $200 billion over the next two years. Mr. Obama also is expected to announce a proposal to permanently extend tax credits for business research and development.

The proposals will be the latest effort by Mr. Obama to fight persistently high unemployment in the U.S. ahead of crucial congressional elections in November.

On Monday, the president proposed a six-year, $50-billion initiative to rebuild the nation's roads, railways and airports during a speech before union leaders and their members in (the midwestern U.S. city of) Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mr. Obama has been spending much of his time recently focusing on the U.S. economy, which is struggling through a weak recovery from the global economic slowdown and unemployment near 10 percent.

The woeful economic outlook is taking a toll on the president's Democratic Party, which controls both the U.S. House and Senate. Recent public opinion polls show a majority of American voters trust the opposition Republican Party to better handle the economy and the soaring U.S. budget deficit.

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg, Washington Post, AFP and AP