The GOP House passes its budget. It promises to balance the books within 10 years by cutting spending by $5.4 trillion. Cuts include $2 trillion from repeal of the Affordable Care Act, $1 trillion from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and $1 trillion from other unspecified benefit programs. Another $500 billion would come from unspecified domestic programs. The Dems say the math doesn’t make sense. In case you missed it, they’re not alone.
But the “Doc Fix” would add billions more to the deficit. CBO figures the measure to boost Medicare payments to physicians by 0.5 percent annually for five years would add about $140 billion to the debt over the next decade. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget figures it would add $500 billion in red ink through 2035.
The Texas Senate approved a big round of tax cuts, with one lonely “no.” The GOP-controlled chamber passed billions of dollars in property tax cuts. The $2.4 billion package would increase homestead exemptions from school property taxes, and is part of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s $4.5 billion tax relief plan. A state senator named Kevin Eltife was the only GOP “no” vote: He would rather pay off state debt and take care of deferred maintenance before cutting taxes.
Kentucky won’t cut its gasoline tax. Lawmakers passed a compromise bill to stabilize the gas tax. The bill sets a new minimum rate of 26 cents per gallon, less than the current tax of 27.6 cents per gallon. This is an alternative to the law that requires quarterly rate adjustment based on the price of gasoline. Had this bill not passed, the tax would have fallen to 22.5 cents per gallon on April 1.
Federal employees’ tax delinquency dropped, but overdue taxes are at their highest in a decade. There were 113,800 federal employees who didn’t pay their taxes in 2014, two percent less than in 2013. IRS data released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show that civilian federal personnel owed combined debt of more than $1.14 billion in back taxes in 2014. The data also show that about 5 percent of House staff and 3.5 percent of Senate staff were delinquent with their taxes last year.
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