CBO’s grim long-term fiscal outlook, Clinton, and Trump. In its latest long-range forecast, CBO sees budget deficits topping 8 percent of Gross Domestic Product and the ratio of debt to the GDP hitting 141 percent, the highest in US history. TPC’s Howard Gleckman notes that Hillary Clinton has no plans to address that fiscal gap, but at least her agenda would not make it much worse. Trump, with unprecedented tax cuts and few offsetting spending reductions, would drive the debt to dangerous levels.
Trump’s tax returns: The call to release them grows louder. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked publicly, “How has [Donald Trump] gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?” Meanwhile, activists delivered a petition with more than 400,000 signatures urging the presumptive GOP presidential nominee release his returns. Trump says he cannot as long as they are under IRS audit. The IRS says an audit does not preclude a taxpayer from releasing his or her own information.
As for those who pay no federal income or payroll taxes… TPC’s Bob Williams explains TPC’s updated estimates. Forty-four percent of Americans pay no federal individual income taxes. In ten years, the share will fall to about 40 percent. About 60 percent of those who pay no income tax work and owe payroll taxes. Only about 9 percent of households have their payroll tax fully (or more than fully) offset by refundable credits.
Thinking about a carbon tax. Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution asks 11 key questions that policymakers should answer as they consider a carbon tax. Among them: What greenhouse gases are taxed, who pays them, who collects them, and what should government do with the revenue?
On the Hill… in September. House Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady says he and Tax Policy Subcommittee Chair Charles Boustany will try to advance separate and noncontroversial tax measures that have been reported out of the committee. In August, they’ll decide which measures the House could vote on as stand-alone bills.
One state in India jumps on the obesity-fighting bandwagon. The government of the spice-exporting southern coastal state of Kerala introduced a “fat tax” to reduce obesity. The 14.5 percent tax will apply burgers, pizzas, tacos, doughnuts, sandwiches, and pasta sold at branded restaurants and food retail giants. “There has been an alarming trend in the growth of unhealthy eating habits among Keralites and we hope the fat tax will be a deterrent," said Rajan Khobragade, commissioner of commercial taxes.
Don’t forget tomorrow’s corporate tax reform event! TPC, the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, and the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance at the University of California, Berkeley host the discussion among an international group of economists and attorneys at the Urban Institute tomorrow from 9am to 2:45pm. If you can’t make it in person, TPC will stream the event live.
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