Plans to raise state gas taxes move down the road in Minnesota and South Carolina. The Minnesota Senate passed a 16-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike that would be triggered when pump prices fall to $2.50 per gallon. Minnesota’s levy is currently 28.5 cents per gallon. In South Carolina, the Senate will consider a House-approved plan to boost the tax by the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon. It would raise $400 million for the state’s roads.
As for the nation’s highway funding? It’s likely to remain flat. So concludes House Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster, even though transportation advocates recommend a $50 billion annual increase. Surface transportation funding expires May 31. Senate Finance Committee Democrats still express hope for a bipartisan, long-term solution. Somewhere down the road.
Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s no- tax pledge. He joined Senate colleagues (and rivals for the GOP nomination) Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in a vow to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” In February, Rubio and Utah’s Mike Lee released a tax reform plan that could, according to TPC calculations, “reduce after-tax incomes for most households with children whose annual incomes are below $30,000 in 2018,” depending on how the measure is designed.
The biggest sports league in the US will give up its tax-exempt status. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell broke the news to team owners and Congress yesterday. Bloomberg reports that the league has been studying its tax status for a year, and the full ownership approved the decision last month. Ending its tax-exempt status would eliminate, as Goodell put it, a “distraction.” It would also allow the league to keep the salaries of Goodell and other top execs secret—information the NFL must now disclose. The cost of going taxable; a trivial (for the NFL) $109 million over 10 years.
The sweet smell of victory comes at a price. The beverage industry went all out to kill a Vermont excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. It spent nearly $600,000 on advertising and lobbying efforts. The excise tax died in committee.
Today on the Hill. The Senate Finance Committee considers a bill to expand Sec. 529 college savings plans. The US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship holds a hearing on the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell case that could overturn some Affordable Care Act tax subsidies. The panel will look at how Congress could protect small business and employees if the law is overturned.
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