Treasury’s Inspector General’s office will investigate TCJA’s Opportunity Zones. Democratic Senator Cory Booker and representatives Emanuel Cleaver and Ron Kind requested the investigation following reports in The New York Times and ProPublica that Treasury OK’d designated zones based on political influence rather than merit. “If the Treasury Department provided a stamp of approval as a political favor, it is not only unacceptable, but in complete violation of the congressional intent of the Opportunity Zones,” the lawmakers wrote. The IG may finish the investigation by spring.
Senate passes USMCA. The chamber voted 89-10 to approve the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law next week. Mexico approved the deal last year but it still awaits ratification by Canada.
House Budget Committee testimony: Strengthening the federal-state-local partnership in recession and recovery. TPC’s Tracy Gordon testified this week on federal investments in states. She explained that while states and localities are key economic players and service providers, both roles are severely tested in recessions and other economic shocks. Although the federal government often steps in to help states and localities, it could do more.
Nevada’s marijuana tax revenue is blooming. The state’s Department of Taxation collected $9.8 million in October, an increase of about $1.6 million compared to the same period in 2018. Nevada levies a 15 percent wholesale cultivation tax and 10 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales. In the first four months of this fiscal year, Nevada collected $36.7 million, up nearly 16 percent from the same period last fiscal year.
In Hong Kong, delayed tax collection from individuals follows protest chaos. Residents usually get their tax bills in July, but it’s January and they still are waiting. That’s because of a legislative backlog, tied to ongoing anti-government protests over the past seven months. The city’s Inland Revenue Department assessed only one-third of individuals as of December 31. Ironically, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council had been debating a bill to lower 2018-2019 taxes before the council suspended activity last June due to the protests.
The Daily Deduction will publish again on Tuesday, January 21, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day on January 20.
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