Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says “nyet.” As expected, Mnuchin said he would not comply with House Ways & Means Committee Chair Richard Neal’s request for six years of President Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin said the request “presents serious constitutional questions” and serves no legislative purpose. Neal may issue a subpoena for the returns and the dispute will almost certainly end up in federal court.
Pew Charitable Trusts: State tax revenues are strong … for now. Its latest analysis of state revenues finds that 41 states collected more in income tax revenues last year than prior to the Great Recession. The increase was largely due to the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on state income taxes and the strong economy. In recent months, however, income tax collections are missing estimates in nearly half the states. TPC’s Lucy Dadayan suggests that "If income tax returns fall short this April, it would be prudent for state officials to revisit longer-term fiscal planning strategies.”
Poll: Small business owners’ see little benefit from the TCJA. The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Survey, conducted April 1-5, reports that half of small business owners say the TCJA has not had much effect on their business, while one-quarter say it has had a positive effect and one-fifth say it has been a negative. About half doubt the TCJA changed the amount of taxes they paid in 2018. These results largely reflect the views of the general public, based on separate Gallup research.
Want the rich to pay their fair share in taxes? Raising their rates might not be the best first answer. In their New York Times essay, Pro Publica reporters argue that the IRS doesn’t have the resources—budgetary or personnel—necessary to audit frequently or chase after offshore accounts and tax cheats. While Democratic presidential candidates propose raising taxes on the rich “the boldest tax plan of all starts with salvaging the IRS.”
Senate Budget Committee Chair Enzi Will Retire. Sen. Mike Enzi will retire when his term expires next year. Enzi has been a long-time advocate for budget reform and says it will be his priority over the next 18 months.
Budget expert Stan Collender has died. The Budget Guy, as he liked to call himself, was a leading expert in fiscal policy, the deficit, and the congressional budget process. A long-time Hill staffer turned commentator, Stan was skilled at explaining arcane fiscal issues in simple, lay terms. He even made fiscal policy part of a stand-up comedy act. He passed away last Friday at age 68.
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