An infrastructure bill isn’t exactly shovel-ready. At least that’s what House Speaker Paul Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Ryan said it would be included in the “spring budget” but would not commit to its size. Ryan, who with some understatement admitted that, “I am not a Keynesian,” said the plan would be focused on leveraging private sector dollars, not spending public money.
GOP senators want a “path” to budget balance in 10 years. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee insist they’ll support a 2017 budget resolution only if it includes a commitment to put the federal government “on a path to balance in 10 years,” reports Politico. Such a journey implies historic cuts in federal spending, especially if Congress adds a major tax cut to what CBO projects will be a $1.2 trillion deficit in 2026. Without their votes, a fiscal 2018 budget plan, including those big tax cuts, could crater—though it is not clear what “commitment” or “path” means.
Why are Chicago homeowners leaving money on the table? The Tax Hound considers the Chicago Property Tax Rebate program aimed at helping low- and middle-income homeowners hit by the city’s latest property tax increase. She finds that many missed the opportunity.
Alaska just collected its first month of marijuana taxes. The grand total for November, received from seven marijuana cultivators: $81,100. Most came in cash, with a few checks. Half the revenue will go to Alaska’s general fund and the rest will pay for programs designed to prevent repeat criminal offenders.
In New Jersey, not all cities are getting a sales tax cut. While the Garden State has cut its sales tax rate from 7 percent to 6.875 percent, shoppers in five hard-pressed cities will pay higher rates. The state’s Urban Enterprise Zone program allowed the cities to charge only half the state’s sales tax in an effort to boost local economies. But last year, Governor Chris Christie vetoed an expansion of the program, which now sits in legislative limbo. As a result, five cities that have participated in the program since it began in 1986 must now charge the full state rate.
In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson wants quick action on a tax cut. The Republican urged the state legislature to move forward on his $50 million tax cut plan that would cut income taxes for hundreds of thousands of low-income Arkansans. In 2015, lawmakers approved Hutchison’s $103 million tax cut.
In India, a tax policy fight sees states take to water. The subcontinent’s nine coastal states want to tax the sale of goods and services on the high seas — up to 12 nautical miles from their shorelines. Said India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: “We couldn’t reach a consensus on a very important issue that relates to defining of a state.” In turn, the government can’t finalize its draft legislation on inter-state trade.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.