“All by myself…” Paul Ryan and international tax reform. The House Ways & Means chairman has his work cut out for him with his international tax plans. The Hill reports that Senate Republicans continue to express skepticism, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Majority Whip John Cornyn, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch. Ryan must also try to build common ground with Democrats. “But if anybody could, I think Paul Ryan could probably do it,” noted Kansas Senator Pat Roberts.
“He’s got high hopes.” Delaware Democrat Senator Tom Carper wants to boost the 18.4-cents-per-gallon tax by 4 cents each year for the next four years, bringing the levy to 34.4 cents per gallon by 2020. His legislation would offer tax credits to offset the impact of the increase on drivers. Congress has not raised the federal gas tax since 1993. Carper says it’s time to raise it, since Congress couldn’t pass a long-term transportation bill. Hope springs eternal, for some.
If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em? North Carolina discontinued its annual sales tax holiday two years ago; it cost the state about $13.4 million in lost revenue in 2013. Neighboring South Carolina repeats its sales tax holiday this weekend, suspending its 6 percent state tax along with all local sales taxes. To compete, some bordering North Carolina stores are holding “better than tax-free” sales the same weekend, marking prices down 15 percent. Sales tax holidays, for what it’s worth, generally don’t make for the best tax policy, but they do seem to make voters—and shoppers—happy.
Did foreign residents cash out of Luxembourg banks because of expected tax scrutiny? It sure looks like it. Bloomberg illustrates how the tiny nation issued 15 percent more Euro notes in 2013, hitting a level nearly twice its gross domestic product. Cash transactions cannot be tracked by national tax authorities. At the time, Luxembourg was relaxing bank secrecy laws to allow exchange of tax information with other countries and curb tax avoidance by foreigners with Luxembourg accounts.
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