Budget deal, done deal. The President signed the budget deal yesterday. The two-year measure keeps the government open and prevents a debt default. The agreement lifts spending caps and extends the debt limit until 2017.
As for a deal on highways… Speaker Ryan named highway funding as a top priority before assuming his new role, but hasn’t mentioned it much since. The House Rules Committee will work on the $325 billion House bill today. That “six-year bill” only funds highways for three years, and has already attracted over 260 possible amendments (though the vast majority will never get votes).
A bipartisan deal on tax reform? It’s possible! In 2005, the Bush Tax Panel recommended two bold options for reform: A radically streamlined version of the existing system, and a growth-oriented plan designed to encourage investment. They proved that Republicans and Democrats can work together—at least to a point. The proposals never got anywhere, but did provide a framework for simpler, fairer, and more growth-oriented tax system. Will we take their lessons to heart today? Tune in at 10am for a live webcast to explore the topic.
Also possible: Improved Earned Income Tax Credit compliance. But as TPC’s Elaine Maag explains, first Congress has to give the IRS authority to impose minimum competence and qualification standards for authorized tax preparers. If it does, the IRS could help to protect low-income families from costly mistakes on their returns, and prevent erroneous overpayments.
In Alaska, the end of oil’s era? The state’s tax on oil made its government rich—and Alaska returned some of the windfall through new tax subsidies to spur oil production. But The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that the state returns $1 billion annually in tax credits and rebates to oil companies and lenders, more than offsetting its oil tax revenue. In the past year, the state lost about $263 million on its oil production tax program. Blaming declining oil prices, Independent Governor Bill Walker says “We can no longer subsidize exploration.”
About Donald Trump’s tax plan… Bloomberg Politics got a copy of his new book, “Crippled America,” which will be released today. A full chapter of the book covers his tax proposal, which Trump says would end up costing him money personally. It remains unclear, however, whether that’s true. Trump has yet to release any of his tax returns.
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