Relief bill may hit the Senate floor today. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is confident that Democrats will have the votes to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. However, moderate Democrats are pushing for a lower threshold for relief payments and changes in unemployment benefits and state and local aid. The Senate is expected to vote on its version of the bill by the end of the week.
Nominations update. The White House is withdrawing the nomination of Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management Budget. Because West Virginia’s Joe Manchin opposes her, Biden does not appear to have the Senate votes to confirm Tanden. She is likely to be offered a White House job that does not require Senate confirmation. Shalanda Young, a veteran Hill staffer already nominated to be deputy OMB director, is widely expected to be Biden’s new choice for the top spot. Separately, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has been confirmed as US Commerce Secretary.
Jose Murillo named deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for international tax affairs. The department veteran will play a key role in developing the administration’s position on taxing of multinational corporations. He’s currently a partner at Ernst & Young. But prior to that, he worked for several years in Treasury’s Office of the International Tax Counsel.
Will the Minnesota Senate soon reach a deal on tax relief? The Taxes Committee is working on legislation to make federal Paycheck Protection Program loans tax free for businesses and reduce taxes on federal unemployment benefits individuals received during the pandemic. The bill also may include more money from a pot of federal aid to help school districts expand summer school.
Connecticut lawmakers pass tax relief for residents who work in other states. The changes would keep 110,000 Connecticut residents from being double-taxed by states where their firms are located while they’re working from home. The bill also helps welfare recipients with liens on their properties and directs more funding to communities with non-taxable property. Democratic Governor Ned Lamont will soon sign the bill.
Mississippi’s tax overhaul: A bold plan that misses some key details? The Tax Foundation analyzed a Mississippi House bill to replace the individual income tax with higher sales taxes, including on farm equipment, manufacturing materials, and commercial electricity. It would cut sales taxes on groceries by half over several years. House leadership proposed the plan with little input from other stakeholders. The Tax Foundation wrote, “The absence of a fiscal note is concerning” and expressed concern that there were no estimates of the bill’s impact on some businesses.
In Pennsylvania: Victims of unemployment insurance fraud are getting tax bills. Spotlight PA reports that Pennsylvania is reporting as income to the IRS fraudulent unemployment payments—in some cases payments jobless workers never received. At least 50,000 Pennsylvanians have reported unemployment fraud to the Department of Labor and Industry. Thousands are receiving tax bills and have no idea how to prove they didn’t receive the benefits.
Are corporate tax rates around the world about to climb? The United Kingdom’s latest budget would increase the corporate tax rate from 19 percent to 25 percent. Reuters reports that other countries may consider following suit, given the pandemic-driven deficit increases. But 140 member countries of the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development still are trying to reach an agreement by summer on a global minimum corporate tax rate. The average corporate rate in the wealthiest 37 countries is 23 percent.
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