Plan B: A voluntary levy to fund safe drinking water in California. More than one million Californians face potential exposure to unsafe drinking water, largely in low-income areas. In June, the legislature abandoned plans to impose a new tax to fund water projects, but now two measures aim to place a voluntary levy on ratepayers’ water bills. If passed, they could add about 95 cents per month to a typical water bill and, depending on how many users pay, raise as much as $100 million a year.
In Washington State, a November vote on a carbon tax. Will the state make history? If it passes, Washington would be the first state to have a carbon tax and the first jurisdiction anywhere to do so by referendum. Ballot Initiative 1631 would charge a carbon fee of $15 per ton of CO2 they release into the atmosphere. The tax would generate roughly $2.2 billion in its first five years and support projects like public transit, energy-efficiency upgrades, and new wind- and solar-power plants. State voters rejected a carbon tax initiative in 2016 that was opposed by both energy companies and some environmental groups.
National Taxpayers Union asks Trump Administration to livestream trade hearings. The group asked US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to make public the six days of trade hearings scheduled to start today through August 27. The NTU said it would help taxpayers better understand the new Section 301 tariffs President Trump wants to impose on Chinese imports.
In the United Kingdom, perhaps a tax to reduce plastic use. Britain may use taxes to encourage the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing and reduce demand for single-use plastics including coffee cups. The treasury also wants to discourage the use of hard-to-recycle plastics and increase recycling rates. It will announce the new taxes in its fall budget statement.
Doctors are expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit. TPC’s Howard Gleckman explains how two Boston-based physicians linked medical care with income security that can improve health. Their program, called Street Cred, helped 1,700 households claim $3.3 million in refundable tax credits through the 2016-2018 tax seasons. It also provides enrollment assistance for programs like SNAP (food stamps) and Head Start, and will soon help families set up savings accounts and apply for housing subsidies, child support, and health insurance. The program now operates in four states.
Will medical-device maker Medtronic owe billions of dollars in back taxes? A federal appeals court says the US Tax Court has more work to do to find out. The IRS ruled that the firm improperly shifted income to Puerto Rico to avoid paying about $1.4 billion in US taxes in 2005 and 2006. The tax court largely sided with Medtronic after the company appealed. Now r a federal appeals court has tossed out that ruling and sent the case back to tax court. A final resolution could take years. In dispute now: billions of dollars more in disputed taxes that have accumulated since 2007.
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