Small businesses could also benefit from tax breaks on capital gains for firms that invest in expanding companies and start-ups. Changes that allow businesses to write off, rather than just depreciate, old or outdated equipment could boost expansion.

Companies large and small will pay more to keep the unemployment system solvent. The Federal Unemployment Tax, a 6% levy on the first $7,000 paid to employees, currently has a 0.2% temporary surtax. The administration is looking to make that increase permanent. Big business

As expected, the budget includes the hotly debated "fiscal crisis responsibility fee," a 15% tax on financial companies that aims to recoup the costs of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. A fee of 15 basis points would be levied on the debt of firms with more than $50 billion in assets.

Bad news could bubble up for Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and ConocoPhillips ( COP). Although these companies will no longer be taxed for drilling on the outer continental shelf, other tax preferences could be eliminated for oil, gas and coal producers. Tax incentives for domestic exploration and drilling could also be cut.

The proposed return of a Superfund tax could raise $19 billion during the next 10 years. The taxes, first enacted in 1980 to finance the cost of cleaning toxic waste sites, expired in 1995. If restored, the U.S. would charge a 9.7-cent excise tax on each barrel of oil received at U.S. refineries. Additional taxes would be assessed for hazardous chemicals sold in the U.S.

-- Reported by Joe Mont in Boston.

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