Iowa voters surprise pollsters. Go figure. GOP candidate Ted Cruz won last night's Iowa caucus, to the surprise of everybody, while Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton eked out a narrow victory, to the surprise of some. Does this mean Iowa Republicans like a value-added tax and Iowa Democrats want tax increases for the rich? In any case, the field has winnowed a little bit: Democrat Martin O'Malley and Republican Mike Huckabee have both suspended their campaigns. That means there are two fewer tax plans to consider--check them all out here.
The NFL drives a hard bargain for Super Bowl hosts. The National Football League requires that every state and city hosting the Super Bowl exempt tickets, parking and entry to related events from sales taxes. TPC’s Richard Auxier explains why the NFL does this and how it works. Hint: It’s not about saving football fans money.
In California, revamping a tax on health plans is no simple feat. If the state does not make complex changes to the way it taxes health plans it will lose over $1 billion in federal funding for Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. To save the federal match, Governor Jerry Brown put together a package of tiered tax rates (paired with other tax relief) for managed care organizations. The new levies would be based on the number of Medi-Cal enrollees in any given plan. Brown joked “that very few people understand [the new tax]. ... I couldn’t explain it to you if I wanted to.” Insurers and other business groups support the general outline of Brown’s plan, but… well, you know where the devil is.
In Washington State—perhaps a more focused revival of a corporate tax break. The state legislature may revive two expired high-tech research-and development tax breaks, but only for life sciences, medical devices, and environmental technology. The old tax break, which expired more than a year ago, also included advanced computing. Not this time, as the tax break’s sponsor thinks companies like Microsoft don’t need that kind of tax break.
Ways & Means will focus on international tax reform. Committee Chair Kevin Brady told the Heritage Foundation that taxation of US-based multinationals will be the primary tax focus of his panel this year. Despite talk by Speaker Paul Ryan and others about broad-based reform, Brady said the committee will target international issues, and acknowledged that even those changes were unlikely to reach the president’s desk in 2016. Separating international issues from broader business tax reform will be a huge lift.
Also on the Hill. The Ways & Means panel’s first hearing of the year on pro-growth policies takes place today. The committee will hear testimony from Doug Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, and Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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