Before the EU rules on Apple’s tax issues, a meeting with Treasury Secretary Lew. The European Union’s antitrust chief Margarethe Vestager will meet with Lew tomorrow. The session makes one wonder whether the EU is about to announce its decision on Apple’s tax issues in Ireland. In 2014, the EU began investigating claims that Apple was improperly designing deals to avoid taxes. The Obama Administration and members of Congress have grumbled that the EU is targeting US companies in its tax investigations.
Pennsylvania has a state budget—or half of one. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has allowed a $31.5 billion spending plan to become law without his signature, even though it lacks corresponding revenue to bring the fiscal plan into balance as Pennsylvania law requires. Meanwhile, the House and Senate continue to search for new sources of revenue. In a leap of faith, Governor Wolf expects them to soon deliver a compromise, though the state’s credit rating could suffer while he waits.
Massachusetts gets a revenue boost from cigarette taxes. In 2013, the state raised its cigarette tax by $1 per pack and as of May has raised $285 million. But despite hopes of anti-smoking advocates, none of the funds have gone to fighting tobacco use: About $63 million went to the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund, and about $222 million went to the state’s general fund. The state’s new budget plan effective July 1 will spend $4 million on anti-smoking efforts. Now, the advocates want the legislature to ban tobacco sales to those under 2, which would reduce tax revenues.
France to the United Kingdom: Don’t cut taxes to spite your face. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin doesn’t think “it would be a good thing for Britain to respond to the difficult spot they're in in terms of financial credibility and attractiveness with tax measures… Even with (British corporate tax) at 15 percent, there won't be any financial passport for big financial companies.”
But France, do you need a tax break in every port? The EU wants to know if tax breaks given to ports in France and Belgium complied with state aid rules. Ports enjoy a tax exemption in the two countries, and the EU’s anti-trust group wants that to stop. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said "tax exemptions shouldn't distort competition by giving an unfair advantage to some ports over others in Europe.” France and Belgium could face fines if they don’t comply with the EU rules.
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