Roses are red, budget deals are due… The House plans to vote today on a bipartisan border security deal that will keep the government open. The Senate is expected to follow soon after. The White House has indicated that President Trump will sign the bill. But no one seems to know for sure.
The national debt is huge, leaving many feeling blue. Treasury reports the national debt has passed the $22 trillion mark. That’s a first in the nation’s history. Treasury also reports that federal revenue declined by 0.4 percent in 2018, the first full year after passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. CBO has projected annual deficits will pass $1 trillion a year starting in 2020. Notes Campaign to Fix the Debt co-chairs Judd Gregg and Edward Rendell: “This milestone is another sad reminder of the inexcusable tab our nation’s leaders continue to run up and will leave for the next generation.”
“How can you tax me? Let me count the ways…” Former BlackRock executive Morris Pearl, who chairs the 200-member group Patriotic Millionaires, urged New York state lawmakers to create a new “multimillionaire’s tax.” The levy would apply to earnings over $5 million a year and fund affordable housing, infrastructure, and schools. At a CNN town hall on Tuesday, potential third-party presidential candidate (and Starbucks billionaire) Howard Schultz said he too would raise taxes on high-income people: "I should be paying more taxes. And people who make this kind of revenue, and are of means, should pay more taxes."
“You say tomato, I say to-mah-to…” Democrats and Republicans continue squabbling over the IRS’ report on first-week tax refunds. Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris inaccurately says lower-than-expected refunds are evidence that middle-income households are paying more income tax than before passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Two Ways & Means Committee Democrats want the IRS to protect more taxpayers from penalties for being underwithheld. And Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley says Democrats are being “stupid” for focusing on refunds at all.
Wisconsin taxes me, Wisconsin taxes me not. Democratic Governor Tony Evers said yesterday that a task force will soon recommend raising Wisconsin’s 32.9-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. Evers may include the tax increase in his first state budget. Meanwhile, the state’s legislative chambers have passed middle-class tax cut bills. They could lead to Governor Evers’ first veto.
“Wise men say only fools rush in…” Spokane, Washington’s mayor was against it, but the city’s voters approved a $5.8 million tax hike to pay for more police and firefighters. The new levy will generate $5.8 million annually. Spokane homeowners will pay an extra 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $60 a year on a $200,000 home to hire 20 new police officers and keep 30 newly hired firefighters. The mayor wanted to reprogram money from the existing budget.
“Make my dreams come true…” A Pennsylvania state representative wants a 10-percent tax on violent video games. Republican Christopher Quinn proposed the levy to fund school safety measures, such as installing bulletproof glass, metal detectors, or security cameras.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.