Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2000

Asbestos makers seek tax breaks

October 19, 2000


— GAF Corp., a leading roofing materials manufacturer that once made asbestos, is fiercely lobbying against a tax bill proposed in Congress that would provide $2.1 billion in benefits to itself and other former asbestos firms to help settle thousands of health-related lawsuits.

GAF officials say passage of the tax breaks would effectively end chances that Congress would enact a broader asbestos litigation bill imposing new limits on claims and the current measure would wind up lining the pockets of trial lawyers a contention denied by a leading attorneys' organization.

The bill would let the companies write off current asbestos losses on taxes they paid decades ago write-offs now are limited to the past 10 years and require that refunds be used to pay asbestos claims. The companies are struggling to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits stemming from exposure to asbestos, once a commonly used insulating material that was later found to cause cancer and lung disease.

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