Congress is in recess this week. The Daily Deduction will return to its regular schedule on Monday, June 1.
Congress delays a highway bill for two more months. Just before leaving town for its Memorial Day recess, and with no funding solution in the tank, Congress extended spending authority until the end of July. That’s about the time lawmakers will be heading out for their summer vacation. Perhaps that deadline will inspire a solution. Or not.
Will California raise its gasoline tax? Over the past ten years, the state has spent most of its transportation money on widening roads or on projects that expedite commercial shipping. Yet to be done and with no money to do it: $59 billion worth of road maintenance. Now, even anti-tax Republicans are open to a gas tax increase to fund those deferred projects. Democratic State Senator Jim Beall would raise the state’s 48.6 cents-per-gallon gas tax by a dime and Senate GOP leader Bob Huff called Beall's plan “a ‘creative' solution to a vexing problem.”
Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey will not raise taxes for public schools. The Republican promised not to raise taxes, and he won’t, even though public school spending in Arizona has dropped 25 percent per student since 2008. Some business leaders, however, are wondering whether the state should invest more dollars in public education.
A new sales tax signals brighter days for Puerto Rico… In the bond market, anyway. The price of bonds issued in March, 2014 reached a two-month high after the island’s House approved a sales tax increase from 7.5 percent to 11.5 percent to help balance the 2016 budget. After March of 2016, the levy would transition to a value-added tax. Puerto Rico’s Senate will likely vote on the tax today, and has the votes to pass it.
Amazon now pays a corporate tax on retail sales in the United Kingdom. Since May 1, the online retailer has been booking British online sales through the UK and will pay the UK tax on resulting profits. For the past 11 years, British online sales totaling $8.3 billion had been booked in Luxembourg. By changing its accounting strategy, Amazon will avoid a new UK “diverted profits tax” of 25 percent on organizations judged to be artificially routing profits overseas.
Thailand has a new inheritance tax. Most estates over 100 million baht ($3 million) will be taxed at 5 percent. The government expects to collect about 3 billion baht ($90 million) per year. The new tax is part of a larger tax reform effort designed to broaden Thailand’s tax base and increase revenue.
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