Health care vote delayed due to a senator’s health care. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed consideration of his revised Better Care Reconciliation Act. The vote will await the return of GOP Senator John McCain of Arizona, who is recovering from surgery. Meanwhile, The Hill reports the Congressional Budget Office score of BCRA 2.0 will not be out today as many expected.
Meanwhile, insurers weigh in, and not in a positive way. America’s Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association oppose Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposal to allow health plans to sell low-cost, low-benefit insurance along with policies that meet the Affordable Care Act minimum standards. Insurers warn that proposal would create a two-tier market: Healthy people would buy cheap policies while sick people would buy costly comprehensive insurance. Premiums for the latter plans would skyrocket and become unaffordable for individuals receiving BCRA tax credits.
On the Hill. The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on tax reform tomorrow: Scheduled witnesses include TPC’s Mark Mazur. On Wednesday the House Ways & Means Tax Policy Subcommittee holds a hearing on tax code simplification. Late last week the House Appropriations Committee approved the IRS budget of $11.1 billion for fiscal year 2018.The GOP leadership insists the House will vote on a budget resolution this week although a draft bill has yet to surface.
More tax reporting for the sharing economy. Politico reports that Sen. John Thune would require sharing platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft to increase their reporting to the IRS. Today, they must report payment in excess of $20,000 to those who sell services through their platforms. Thune would require the platforms to report payments of $1,000 or more. The bill would raise revenue but will be extremely controversial.
In case you missed it: Kansas tax policy and beyond. Brookings Institution’s Aaron Krupkin and TPC’s Bill Gale and Kim Rueben have a new report on the relationship of tax cuts to economic growth.
Is California’s cigarette tax hike already curbing smoking? Last November, state voters approved a $2 increase in its 87 cents-per-pack cigarette tax. The levy went into effect on April 1. California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office finds that cigarette tax revenue spiked in March and April relative to the same periods last year but plummeted in May. Revenue was down 64 percent compared to May 2016. Were some smokers stocking up before the tax took effect? Are smokers buying less now that the tax is in effect? Time will tell.
Georgia Supreme Court OKs tax-credit scholarships. Individuals and corporations can receive a state income tax credit for donations to approved not-for-profit student scholarship organizations. Donations can be up to $1,000 for individuals or $2,500 for joint filers. Businesses can claim a credit equal to the donation or 75 percent of the corporation’s income tax liability—whichever is less. A group of Georgia taxpayers argued that the credit directed tax dollars to religious schools, thereby violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Court’s rejection of this assertion means the tax credit program can expand beyond its $58 million annual cap.
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