The AHCA: Work in progress. Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News that he may add increased tax credits for lower-income people between ages 50 and 64 as well as a work requirement for Medicaid to get the American Health Care Act through the House. He still vows a floor vote on Thursday. But both moderates and conservatives still have their doubts. Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint says the bill won’t pass Congress without major improvements. Sen. Rand Paul insists on a clean repeal and his GOP colleague Susan Collins says she’ll oppose the bill unless it covers more people.
Tax rate and bracket cuts: A pleasure this spring? On corporate and personal income tax rates, President Trump told Fox News that “We’re gonna get a big reduction. We are the highest taxed nation. We’re going from seven to three or four tax brackets and that would be such a pleasure.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Ireland’s Sunday Independent that “We are going to have tax reform after we get health care completed... I think we are looking at late spring to summer.” Earlier last week, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress won’t act on tax reform by August. Who are you going to believe?
The quest for Trump to release his tax returns continues. Many GOP lawmakers say the President should release his returns, but only two have joined Democrats in Congress to make him do so. Advocacy groups and unions plan a march in Washington on April 15. A recent Quinnipiac poll finds nearly 7 in 10 Americans say Trump should release his returns. And New Jersey’s legislature just passed a bill requiring presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their federal tax returns in order to appear on the 2020 state ballot. Will Governor Christie sign it?
The President’s travel prompts Palm Beach tax talk. The Florida city, home to the President’s Mar-a-Lago estate, spends $60,000 a day on local law enforcement overtime when Trump visits. Mayor Paulette Burdick said this means Palm Beach residents will either see city spending cuts or higher taxes. Some local officials want the President or the federal government to cover security costs for what Trump calls the “Southern White House.”
Is a flat tax on the Kansas horizon? A group of conservative legislators would levy a 3.9 percent flat income tax on all Kansans and get rid of most tax breaks. GOP Governor Sam Brownback has discussed a flat tax with lawmakers recently. The Kansas legislature will hold hearings today on two versions.
Will Utah raise its income tax? With business leader backing, the Our Schools Now advocacy group will push for a 2018 ballot initiative to raise the state income tax from 5 percent to 5.875 percent. It would raise an additional $750 million to address the state’s teacher shortage. GOP Governor Gary Herbert says he doesn’t t support the tax increase, but adds, “It ought to be considered. And I would encourage them to continue to move ahead,” and pressure legislators to look at tax policy.
China won’t levy a property tax… yet. The nation’s housing market boom continues unabated, yet the Chinese government will not include a property tax in its legislative agenda this year. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that home prices are 10.6 percent higher than this time last year. Prices in some cities jumped an average of 30 percent from 2015 to 2016. Among the world’s largest economies, only China has no annual tax on homes. Its private property market opened in the late 1990s.
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