Did President Trump just throw corporations, and Senate Republicans, under the bus? TPC’s Howard Gleckman runs a little thought experiment. President Trump said last week he’d be open to “adjustments” to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (such as tax hikes on corporations and high-income households) to finance a new round of middle class tax cuts. Maybe it’s just talk, but, Gleckman asks, “what if Democrats, soon to be in control of the House, took him up on the offer?”
Mid-term tax measures: Voters waded through confusion, settled mostly on rejection. TPC’s Vanessa Williamson reviews last week’s tax-related ballot measures. She reports that “in the ten years before 2018, voters approved half of tax-increasing state ballot measures, but this week they only approved a handful,” probably because of voter fatigue and corporate influence.
How did Springfield, Illinois, pass a tax increase? In July, the city increased its sales tax rate by 0.25 percentage points to 8.75 percent. Yet, 53 percent of voters approved another hike last week, this time by 1 percentage point, to fund public schools. How? A coordinated volunteer effort, reports the State Journal-Register. “The groundwork and legwork the volunteers did was impactful,” said the superintendent of Williamsville-Sherman schools. “There’s nothing fancy about streaming actual information. Truth and transparency go a long way.”
Speaking of corporate influence… The Oregonian digs into Nike‘s role in shaping past and future tax policy in the state. “By supporting Democrats' drive for revenue, Nike is able to push for tax policies that would be less of a financial hit to its own bottom line.” The Beaverton, Oregon-based firm and a small group of other businesses created a group called Common Ground that is working with public employee unions to influence tax policy decisions for the upcoming legislative session.
In Chicago, Sony starts collecting the city’s cloud tax this week. Starting Wednesday, the city’s PlayStation gamers will pay an extra 9 percent “amusement tax” on streaming content and rentals of video games. That’s on top of the local and state sales tax they pay on purchases of games. Other companies are balking at the tax. Apple, for example, sued the city in August, claiming the tax was unconstitutional and a violation of the 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.