Does the Senate want to keep some ACA taxes? It would appear that some Republicans may want to at least delay repeal of the nearly $1 trillion in Affordable Care Act tax increases. The idea: Keep some ACA taxes to finance slower cuts in Medicaid and some subsides for low-income insurance buyers. Will the Senate reach a final decision by June 30? The CBO is assessing health bill variations, including scenarios that could slow repeal of those tax hikes… stay tuned.
Also in the Senate: An OMB Deputy nears approval. The Senate Budget Committee approved Russell T. Vought’s nomination to be the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. This is despite concerns over Vought’s past comments on Islam, which he called “a deficient theology.” Vought must win approval from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee before final confirmation by the full Senate.
In the House: Nuclear power. A bipartisan majority of the House Ways & Means Committee approved a bill to lift the requirement that nuclear facilities be in service by 2020 to be eligible for the nuclear power production tax credit. The bill also allows public and nonprofit organizations to transfer their tax credits to their partners, like project designers. Some panel members hope to extend tax credits for other renewable energy producers but Chairman Kevin Brady wants to consider that as part of comprehensive tax reform.
At the White House: Debt limit indecision. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney says “We haven’t settled on a final way to address the debt ceiling any more than the Hill has.” He has a different view than Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Treasury boss wants a clean increase while Mulvaney would tie spending cuts and budget process reforms to any debt hike.
Infrastructure and tax reform in the parking lot. Top Trump Administration officials had one consistent message yesterday: Don’t count on tying a big infrastructure funding bill to tax reform, an idea favored by many Democrats. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said White House talks about doing that have “receded.”
In the states: Chaos under a Trump budget. TPC’s Richard Auxier explains that President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would make deep cuts to federal payments to states. “Federal funds currently account for nearly a third of state expenditures, so if enacted, Trump’s budget would kick huge decisions to statehouses: raise taxes, reduce benefits, or eliminate services.”
And big tax changes. The National Association of State Budget Officers says that governors have proposed revenue increases of 3.1 percent for fiscal 2018. Its survey reports $4.9 billion in proposed tax and fee hikes in 15 states, $1.2 billion in proposed tax cuts, and $4.8 billion in changes that move the tax burden around but don’t affect total revenues.
And maybe on your phone: Another IRS scam. The IRS warns of a new twist on an old ploy relating to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Scammers call potential victims, mention two bogus certified letters that they claim were undeliverable, and threaten arrest unless victims pay through a prepaid debit card controller by the scammer. Reminder: The IRS will never call and demand payment.
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