Drain the swamp by airing more laundry? You may have missed it given the week’s tax fraud news, but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan to combat government corruption. She wants to slap an excise tax on some lobbying and wants the IRS to release the tax returns of presidential, vice presidential, and congressional candidates, and any businesses and nonprofits they operate. The IRS would make public eight years of returns for presidential or vice-presidential candidates. Currently, the IRS is barred from releasing any individual income tax returns,
Waist deep in the big muddy? What would it take for Congress to reduce the federal debt to a manageable level? TPC’s Howard Gleckman reviews the latest Congressional Budget Office report on filling the nation’s fiscal hole. “CBO figures that getting the debt down to its 50-year average in 15 years… would require Congress to enact $830 billion in spending cuts and tax increases in 2019 alone, or about $2,500 per person.” Even if the timeframe were stretched to 30 years, the first year tax increase or spending cut would average $1,900 per person.
Indexing capital gains: Some surprising outcomes. TPC’s Gene Steuerle asks what would happen if Congress indexed capital gains for inflation but paid for the lost revenue by curbing other tax benefits for capital income. It turns out that “indexing the basis of assets in computing capital gains could create significant winners and losers among investors. Ordinary shareholders could come out ahead, while private equity firms could be big losers.”
North Dakota analyzes TCJA impacts on its residents. The state concluded that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will raise state individual income taxes by $4.8 million in 2018 but cut taxes on small businesses and corporations by $9.7 million.
In Ohio, local school leaders push for a security tax hike. School superintendents in Butler County are advocating for a school security tax increase to fund armed guards, safety technology, and additional mental health counselors. The proposed 1.5-mill levy would increase taxes by an average of $52 a year for an owner of a $100,000 home. The measure will be on the November ballot in participating districts.
In Cincinnati, a ticket-tax plan may not have enough fans to get on the November ballot. Two city council members proposed increasing a ticket tax from 3 percent to 5 percent through a charter amendment. The additional levy would generate $3.6 millione to help fund human service agencies that account for one percent of the city’s budget. In July, the city addressed a $32 million budget shortfall by cutting human services funding by $4.1 million. But few voters have expressed support for putting the plan on the November ballot.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.