Pingree’s food waste tax credit included in $700B tax cut package

Good morning from Augusta, folks. I promise not to clog up this morning’s blog with anything about the premiere last night of the new Star Trek movie. You’re getting enough of that everywhere else.

One of the first things I do in the morning when writing the Daily Brief is take a peek at the Legislature’s online calendar, which includes the schedules of legislative committees and the various rooms and meeting places in the State House complex. As you can see, there’s not a single item on the calendar between now and Dec. 31.

As I have stated before that doesn’t mean there won’t be political news. In general, there is no such thing as a slow period in political news.

In fact, if you flip forward to January, there’s nothing there until Jan. 6 when the Legislature reconvenes after its six-month break. Then it’s a totally different story but we’ll get to that when we get to it.

We all know the next week will be busy enough outside Maine politics. Enjoy the weekend. — Christopher Cousins

Pingree’s food waste bill gets a boost

Earlier this month, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree introduced a bill to reduce the amount of food waste we generate by making it easier for grocery stores, farms, restaurants and schools to give food to food pantries with a new tax deduction, among other measures.

That tax break was included among a slew of spending and tax cuts that were passed Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives. The provision is part of Pingree’s Food Recovery Act but was introduced in a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY.

The tax deduction — if it makes it through the U.S. Senate and under the pen of President Barack Obama — means that the taxpayer gets credit for the full value of the food plus an additional deduction to cover the cost of donating. The provision also increases the maximum tax deduction from 10 percent to 15 percent of taxable income.

“This tax break makes it easier and more worthwhile for businesses and farmers to donate excess food to a food pantry,” said Pingree in a written statement. “It will mean less food going to landfills and more food going to people struggling with hunger.” — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Finally in the R ‘n R Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Thursday that its five inductees for 2016 will be Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A. and Steve Miller.

That’s a pretty decent list, in my opinion. Deep Purple has been frozen out for far too long and Steve Miller’s induction reminds me of when I saw him in concert at Old Orchard Beach back in the mid-90s. However, I’m most excited to see Chicago on the list.

I know what you’re thinking: “Chicago, Chris? With all the love songs? Really?

If you think Chicago is all love songs, you need to cue up their first album, titled Chicago Transit Authority, which in my opinion is one of the best rock albums there is. It’s tough to choose today’s soundtrack from that amazing album, but I give you Poem 58 so you can enjoy Terry Kath, the best guitarist you’ve probably never heard of. Kath’s brilliance ended in 1978 when he was handling a gun that accidentally went off.

Listen to Poem 58 to the end (there’s a sudden and surprising change in the middle) and if you like it, check out I’m a Man. And then listen to Listen. — Christopher Cousins

You’ve been part of an experiment

The “Star Trek” reference at the top of today’s Daily Brief? Ha! I wanted to see how many Star Wars fans sent me snotty emails before they read to the bottom. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.