The Senate confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney as OMB Director. Mulvaney was approved by a vote of 51-49. Senator John McCain of Arizona was the lone Republican to vote no, angry that Mulvaney opposed increases in defense spending while in Congress.
A golden oldie health plan. House Republicans are circulating a package of ideas for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act that would eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance in favor of a new tax credit and expanded health savings accounts. The idea, which House GOP leaders insist is not a plan, a similar to a proposal floated by McCain in his 2008 presidential run. Repealing the exclusion is an extreme version of the Obama Administration’s Cadillac tax, which Republicans—as well as many businesses and unions--strongly resisted.
Michigan voters: No income tax cut, please. The Michigan League for Public Policy released a poll showing nearly three-quarters oppose a House Republican plan to eliminate the income tax The move would leave a $9 billion hole in the state’s general fund. GOP Governor Rick Snyder continued to express disappointment, too.
GOP Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois: Tax increases, please. In an address to state lawmakers, the governor proposed a $37.3 billion budget for the coming fiscal year. That includes $2.7 billion in controversial program cuts but still exceeds $32.7 billion in projected revenues. Rauner said he’s open to an income tax increase or expanded sales taxes to help close the budget gap. But the state’s seemingly endless partisan fiscal gridlock seems likely to continue, as Democrats in the legislature jeered.
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb resigns a cabinet position over a proposed tax hike. In Oklahoma, Lamb will remain Lt. Governor, but quit as the state’s Small Business Advocate to protest Governor Mary Fallin’s proposed tax increases. Fallin would broaden the state’s sales tax base to include services provided by plumbers, barbers, and attorneys as well as a new tax on residential utility customers.
What will the IRS decision to process tax returns without ACA information mean? The agency said it would continue to process refunds even when returns leave out information about whether filers have health insurance or paid the ACA penalty. Some believe it will badly damage the individual mandate, others think it won’t be a big deal. The outcome is likely to depend on how many taxpayers refuse to provide the information and what the Administration says about enforcing the law.
A Tax March on the Ides of April? Protestors plan a march in Washington, DC, and 60 other locations on Saturday, April 15. Organizers want to pressure President Trump to release his tax returns. In a 75-minute press conference yesterday, President Trump would not answer a question about releasing his tax returns.
Congress will be in recess next week. The Daily Deduction will publish next Tuesday, February 21, then return to its regular schedule on Monday February 27. Happy President’s Day.
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