More on Ryan’s tax reform blueprint. TPC’s Howard Gleckman explains how it calls for a big tax cut for businesses, investors, and other high-income households, while middle-income taxpayers wouldn’t be treated nearly as well. While the plan addresses some important policy issues, it may be less successful as a political document. Howard notes, “The plan seems tone-deaf. At a time when populist fever is running high… it is hard to see what candidates running on a ticket with Donald Trump would do with this.” Brexit and the House Democrats’ sit-in last week buried news of the blueprint, released on a summer Friday. “Maybe that’s what [Ryan] had in mind.”
Gas tax alternative on the Right Coast? The I-95 Corridor Coalition contemplates a miles-traveled tax. In pilot programs, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire will count the miles driven by 50 recruits from each of the four states, including state legislators, transportation officials, and other willing drivers. They’ll send the recruits “faux invoices” every month, as well as estimated gas-tax credits. Coalition director Patricia Hendren said the mileage-based fee “is not additive, but a substitute for the gas tax…The idea is to get folks comfortable that mileage-based user fees are a feasible, reasonable and easy-to-use approach.” Across the country, Oregon has been operating a similar program.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards demands accountability for an industrial property tax break. Manufacturers enjoy 10-year property tax exemptions that cost local governments, schools, and law enforcement $16.7 billion in lost revenue but they don’t have to show that their projects meet economic development goals or create jobs. But Edwards signed an executive order last week that will require the state’s revenue department to review all industrial tax breaks to assure that firms achieve job creation goals. Local governments would also get authority to approve future exemptions. Better late than never?
Colombia’s peace deal includes tax breaks for development. A 50-year civil war left much of the country under-developed or damaged. As part of a landmark cease-fire deal, the government and the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have agreed to tax incentives for private sector companies that build roads, water, and sanitation systems, as well as those that build or support schools, health centers, and other projects. “Companies can choose to do these projects and the cost of the project will be deducted from their taxes,” said Rafael Pardo, Colombia’s post-conflict minister.
A bright side of Brexit? The Irish Times reports that travelers between the Republic of Ireland the United Kingdom could see the return of duty free shopping for alcohol, tobacco, and perfume. In 1988, the European Union barred tax-free sales of those products for travelers between member states.
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