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Hillary Clinton promises not to increase taxes for the “middle class.” She made the vow during Saturday night’s Democratic debate. The middle class, by her definition, makes less than $250,000 a year. In 2014, the median household income was about $53,000. Rival Bernie Sanders reaffirmed his support for guaranteed paid family leave for all, funded by a payroll tax increase on all workers. He also calls for “Medicare for all,” and free college education paid for by tax increases on high-income households.
Nevada wants another electric carmaker to set up shop. Just last year, Tesla Motors received a $1.3 billion tax incentive package to build its battery factory outside Reno. Now, Faraday Future will get $215 million in tax credits and abatements to plant its flag in North Las Vegas. Nevada hopes to revitalize the suburb. The new electric car company has not even unveiled its concept car but says it will create 4,500 jobs. It will be able to tap all of its tax abatements once it hits an investment threshold of $1 billion. Its largest investor so far is a Chinese billionaire.
Apple’s CEO has some thoughts on the tax code. In his interview with 60 Minutes, Tim Cook dismissed complaints about Apple’s tax bills and overseas profits. He said, colorfully, that the complaints are “political crap.” He wants changes to the US tax code, which “was made for the Industrial Age, not the Digital Age… It’s backwards. It’s awful for America.”
The government can spend—and the IRS got a specific boost. On Friday, President Obama signed into law a $1.1 trillion spending measure and $622 billion in tax breaks. The spending measure includes a 3 percent increase in the IRS budget over last year. The extra $290 million must be used for “taxpayer services to ensure that the agency responds to taxpayer questions in a timely manner, and to improve fraud detection and prevention and cybersecurity.”
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.