What will the 116th Congress mean for budget and tax policy? TPC’s Howard Gleckman considers the question and posits, “With Democrats picking up a net of at least 26 House seats and a new majority, they are likely to focus on a handful of top priorities that drove their voters to the polls in record numbers—topped by health care and immigration. And oversight of the Trump Administration. Lots of oversight.”
Is President Trump amenable to raising some taxes? Maybe. At least he was yesterday. In response to a question at Wednesday’s press conference about how he’d pay for his promised 10 percent tax cut on middle-income households, the president said this: “If Democrats come up with an idea for tax cuts, which I am a big believer in tax cuts, I would absolutely pursue something even if it means some adjustments to make it possible.” Note that he was talking about new tax cuts… not about how to pay to extend the tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
And about his tax returns… Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says getting the president’s personal tax returns is one of the “first things we’d do.” In yesterday’s press conference, Trump gave a new reason for not releasing them: People “wouldn’t understand them.” Trump also said if Democrats used their oversight power to investigate the White House, he’d take a “war-like posture” in response.
Some TCJA alums say goodbye to Congress. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch retired. Republican Dean Heller of Nevada and Democrat Claire McCaskill were defeated for reelection. Democrat Bill Nelson is in a dead heat and awaiting a recount. And House Ways & Means Committee Republicans Mike Bishop of Michigan, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Peter Roskam of Illinois, and Erik Paulsen of Minnesota all lost their seats.
San Francisco’s tech giants will pay a tax to fund homeless services. Proposition C, approved on Tuesday, will increase the gross receipts tax that large companies pay by an average 0.5 percent. Targeting companies over $50 million in annual revenue, the city expects the tax to generate up to $300 million in new annual revenue.
Oregon voters reject a ban on a grocery tax. The measure, advanced by “Yes! Keep Our Groceries Tax Free” and the Parents Education Association and backed by the soda industry, was preemptive—Oregon has no statewide sales tax and had no plan to tax groceries. Voters were nonplused by the threat of taxation of sugary drinks, so Oregon retains a future revenue option.
So how about a tax on meat? Scientists at the University of Oxford recommend that governments consider a tax on red meat (beef, lamb, pork) in order to reduce consumption. Their research shows that in the United Kingdom such a tax could save lives and over £700m in UK healthcare costs. The study suggests a 14 percent tax on red meat and a 79 percent tax on processed meat.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.