Trump says a budget deal has been reached. Critics call it the worst in history. President Trump tweeted last evening that the White House and congressional leaders have agreed on a budget deal that includes a two-year suspension of the debt ceiling and a $320 billion increase in discretionary spending caps over the next two years. The increased spending would be offset with about $80 billion in spending reductions. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says the agreement would boost the projected federal debt by $2 trillion over the next decade. CRFB president Maya MacGuineas calls the plan, “a total abdication of fiscal responsibility by Congress and the President” and says, “it may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history.” Last evening, some Republican critics of government spending were still trying to convince Trump to abandon the deal.
Elective genetic medical testing is an allowable medical expense. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that in an upcoming private letter ruling, the IRS will treat the health portion of 23andMe’s genetic testing as medical care for tax purposes. The firm sells genetic tests that provide consumers with information that includes data about gene variants that increase risk of certain diseases. It says that the IRS decision means a person can claim up to $117.74 out of the $199 cost of a test. While the letter responded to a request from one firm, others are likely to take advantage of it. The biggest benefit: Paying for the tests with tax-preferred Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts.
Neal has a primary challenger. Politico reports that Holyoke, MA, Mayor Alex Morse will challenge Ways & Mean Chair Richard Neal in the heavily Democratic district. Progressives have been critical of Neal for being too passive in his efforts to gain access to President Trump’s tax returns.
Wyden blasts new Treasury public affairs chief. It is unusual for a senior senator to criticize a non-confirmable administration appointment, especially for a public affairs job. But this is what top Finance Committee Democrat said about Monica Crowley: “As a network commentator, she has dabbled in the racist birther conspiracy theory, pushed propaganda about refugees and disparaged the press. Reports that Ms. Crowley plagiarized portions of her Ph.D. dissertation and 2012 book were enough to keep her off the National Security Council.”
Where will taxpayers pay more under Illinois’ new graduated income tax? Voters across the state will decide in November 2020. But the vast majority of those who would pay the tax—on household income exceeding $250,000 a year—live in Chicago and its suburbs. The Chicago Tribune analyzed Illinois Department of Revenue income tax data from 2016, and found that 85 percent of those who would pay the tax live in Cook County and the five collar counties, which are home to about 66 percent of the state’s population.
One school district in Ohio won’t get a tax break, per Governor’s veto. Governor Mike DeWine vetoed 25 items in the state budget, including a last minute addition that would have given homeowners in one wealthy school district a property tax reduction. Most of the students in the village of 700 people attend private schools and proponents of the budget amendment said the homeowners would be unduly burdened by the tax. But it makes one wonder if states also should allow drivers to pay gas taxes to repair only the roads on which they live? “The drive on the remaining public roads might be a little bumpy.”
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