Another summer kick of the can…down the “highway.” The Senate will vote today on its long-term highway bill. Of course, the House has already gone home for August, so the Senate will also extend federal highway funding for three months before it expires tomorrow. The White House signaled that President Obama will sign the short-term extension. This gives the House more time to work on its own long-term bill. A fall conference between the two chambers may, or may not, reach agreement on how to pay for roads and infrastructure over the long term.
One small step for innovation, one giant step for international tax reform? Congressmen Charles Boustany and Richard Neal have a plan: Allow US companies to pay a discounted 10 percent tax on a share of profits from patents and other intellectual property. It could be an incentive for US companies to generate profits on US soil. As Bloomberg reports, it could also be a major step toward a revamp of international taxation, as well as the start of some serious lobbying by pharmaceutical and tech companies.
Also on the Hill today, a hearing by a panel with a renewed mission. The Senate Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations holds a hearing today on the “Impact of the U.S. Tax Code on the Market for Corporate Control and Jobs.” The panel’s GOP chairman, Rob Portman, wants to focus on federal agencies and departments. Under previous leadership, the panel investigated tax compliance of large firms such as Apple and Goldman Sachs.
Philadelphia’s cigarette tax brings in revenue for schools, but for how long? Last fall, the city boosted its cigarette tax to $2 per pack and earmarked it for schools. The levy raised $50.2 million in nine months and could raise another $60 million through June 2016. But as the price of a pack climbs, many smokers may buy their cigarettes in the lower-tax suburbs and reduce city school revenue below projections. Fewer residents are smoking, too: The number of calls to smoking cessation lines has climbed since the tax hike.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says “wait and see” about property tax rates, but nobody’s blind to the city’s borrowing. Chicagoans may face a hike in their property taxes, but Mayor Emanuel says they’ll have wait until September to see whether it’s part of his budget proposal. Earlier this month, the city borrowed $1.1 billion. That includes taxable debt of $743 million—the largest taxable bond issue the city ever sold.
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