Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley asks Treasury: Why didn’t you share? The Iowa Republican demanded to know why Treasury did not provide Congress with certain bank records pertaining to an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The documents were leaked to the news site Buzzfeed, however. In 2017, Grassley asked for the documents as chair of the Judiciary Committee. This week Grassley said “Withholding information from congressional inquiries while leaking that same type of information to the media cannot be tolerated.”
House tax writing panel likely to seek 10 years of President Trump’s tax returns. The Washington Post reports that the House Ways and Means Committee is in the final stages of preparing its formal request. A 1924 law gives the chairs of House and Senate tax-writing committees broad authority to demand the tax returns of White House officials. The panel has not yet decided whether to seek tax returns from Trump’s business enterprises as well as his personal income tax returns.
Bill Gale tells the House Budget Committee: Fix the TCJA. TPC’s Bill Gale told the panel last week that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s “small growth impact, regressive distributional effect, and negative fiscal impact imply that TCJA made the current generation of high-income households better off at the expense of lower-income households and future generations. Thus, he said, Congress could revisit the law.
What do 2018 economic data tell us about the TCJA? TPC’s Howard Gleckman and Aravind Boddupalli review the key indicators and latest numbers. They conclude that “When Congress passed the TCJA a bit more than 14 months ago, the Tax Policy Center and others predicted the tax cuts would boost the economy in the short run, perhaps for a year or two. Its Keynesian stimulative effects did appear to juice the economy for most of 2018. But there are at least hints that the benefits of those tax cuts already may wearing off.”
New Democratic bill would tax financial transactions. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii will propose a 0.1 percent tax on sales of stocks, bonds and derivatives. The levy would apply to sales in the US or by US persons but exempt initial securities offerings and short-term debt. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated a similar tax would raise $777 billion over 10 years.
Infrastructure on the horizon. Ways & Means member Earl Blumenauer says the House plans to debate an infrastructure bill in the late spring. He said he prefers to fund the initiative with changes to the gas tax rather than rolling back some of the TCJA’s tax cuts.
In Michigan: Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer seeks a fuel tax increase. In her first budget Whitmer proposed phasing in a 45-cent-per gallon increase over two years. The tax is currently 26.2 cents per gallon on regular and diesel fuel. The new levy could raise $2 billion annually that Whitmer would use to fix the state’s roads.
India may lose its preferred trade status with the US. President Trump said this week that he plans to end preferential trade treatment for India in 60 days. The US currently imposes no tax on Indian imports. Trump says the government of India has failed to provide equitable and reasonable access to US products. India’s Commerce Ministry said it has no plans to retaliate. Yet.
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