Signed: a disaster relief, debt-ceiling, and spending bill: President Trump signed a bill that provides $7.4 billion for disaster relief, $7.4 billion in emergency funds for Community Development Block Grants, and $450 million for the Small Business Administration disaster loan program. The bill also raises the debt ceiling and funds the government through December 8. Now that Hurricane Irma has hammered Florida, look for another relief bill soon.
President Trump: Given the hurricane, speed up a tax overhaul. The president says he “wanted a speedup anyway, but we need it even more so” now given the impact of Irma.
But what tax overhaul? Tax Analysts reports that “The Big Six,” comprised of top Administration economic aides and GOP congressional leaders, may brief rank and file House members as soon as this week on their tax plan. One of the group, Ways & Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, says congressional Republicans are close to producing legislation. But other Hill Republicans are getting impatient with the White House, anxious to see the details of a plan.
Whither Gary Cohn? National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, another big-sixer, reportedly has not spoken with the President since he made remarks critical of Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville. It is not clear whether Trump wants Cohn to stay in his position, but Cohn plans to stay put until tax reform is done, reports Politico. As far as speculation that Cohn is no longer in the running for Fed Chair, stay tuned.
If corporate tax cuts are part of the overhaul, will they help US workers? Not so much, TPC’s Howard Gleckman explains. According to TPC calculations, the overall distribution of corporate taxes tilts heavily toward those with high-incomes. Middle-income taxpayers would receive less than 10 percent of the benefit of a corporate rate cut while the top 20 percent would receive about 70 percent. The top 1 percent would see about one-third of the benefits and the top 0.1 percent would get about one-fifth.
Guilty until proved innocent. Hill Republicans say that the Justice Deptartment decision to not reopen a criminal case against Lois Lerner does not mean she is innocent. Lerner was the IRS official in charge of the office that, according to some conservatives, blocked organizations from receiving tax-exempt status for political reasons. "Today's decision does not mean Lois Lerner is innocent," said Ways and Means Chair Brady.
Would a federal VAT limit state and local sales tax revenue? A new analysis by TPC’s Jim Nunns and Eric Toder, published in the September 2017 edition of the National Tax Journal, considers both a narrow- and comprehensive-based value added tax. They find that it’s possible that a federal VAT would improve state and local fiscal positions.
Tax tech giants’ revenues, not profits? Yes, say the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain in their joint letter to the European Union's presidency and Commission. The countries would like the EU to establish an “equalization tax” that would levy the equivalent of a corporate tax in countries where the companies earn revenue.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.