Just politics as usual. The newly Democratic House voted to reopen shut-down government agencies through the rest of the fiscal year, except for Homeland Security which would stay open for the next month while Congress continues to debate funding for a border wall/border security. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the measures a "total non-starter” and said the Senate would not consider any funding bills unless President Trump agrees to sign them. Two Republican senators say they’d support a bill to reopen the government.
New Republicans named to the Senate Finance Committee. The news GOP members will be Steve Daines of Montana, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Todd Young of Indiana. The GOP is adding a seat and replacing the retired Orrin Hatch and the defeated Dean Heller.
Senator Wyden reintroduced a bill to require Trump to release his tax returns. The Senate Finance Committee’s top Democrat has reintroduced the Presidential Tax Transparency Act. The bill would require sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns publicly. Oregon’s senior senator first introduced the bill in May 2016, well before Trump was elected president. Meanwhile, House Ways & Means Committee Chair Richard Neal is in no rush to demand Trump’s returns. A spokesman says Neal wants to “lay out the case” first.
Representative Kevin Brady introduced a TCJA corrections bill. The former chair of the House Ways & Means Committee introduced a bill to make clerical and technical fixes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Seven tax policy issues to watch in 2019. TPC’s Howard Gleckman lays out several important issues that are likely to make news in 2019. Will Congress make changes to the 2017 TCJA? Will the 2018 tax filing season be chaotic? How will states respond to last year’s Wayfair decision and any windfall from the TCJA? There are other issues: the fate of President Trump’s tariffs, the future of Europe’s digital taxes, and the tax policy ideas likely to surface in the battle over the Democratic nomination for president. All this while the federal budget deficit climbs, the economy slows, and the 2020 election campaign begins. It’s going to be a busy, uncertain year.
Political campaigns and tax incentives: Do we give to get? The Tax Hound considers whether tax policy can encourage more individuals to make small donations to political campaigns. House Democrats, meanwhile, dropped a federal credit for campaign donations from their campaign finance reform bill. Are state tax incentives the answer?
Barbara Angus moves on. The former House Ways & Means Committee’s chief tax counsel is the last of the senior GOP tax staffers who worked on the TCJA to leave the Hill.
January 29 at TPC: How Are States Responding to the TCJA? TPC, the American Tax Policy Institute, Tulane University, and the University of Tennessee host a conference to examine state responses one year after passage of the 2017 tax cut. Topics will include conformity of state and federal individual and business tax bases, international business as a source of state revenue, and state workarounds to the TCJA’s limit on the deduction for state and local income taxes. Register here. The event will be webcast here at 9:30 AM.
What happens when a government taxes sugar? Bloomberg Tax reports on changes in behavior among beverage companies and consumers. The United Kingdom’s tax on sugary drinks generated less revenue than expected because manufacturers reduced the sugar content in their products. Soda drinkers in Mexico and Hungary reduced their consumption after a sugary-drink tax went into effect. And the beverage sector has made some changes… but major players like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have maintained their cola formulations.
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