The art of the deal includes many refusals. President Trump nixed Senator Lindsay Graham’s suggestion to reopen the government temporarily while negotiations over border wall funding continue. Trump also rejected, at least for now, his own idea to build the wall by declaring a national emergency. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that an ad hoc bipartisan group of senators is looking for a way to end the crisis. Today is the 25th day of the partial government shutdown.
Can Trump make Treasury employees work without paying them? Today, a federal district court will hear a union’s request for a temporary restraining order to block the administration from calling back workers. The National Treasury Employees Union argues that federal employees can’t be required to work without pay unless there is "imminent threat to human life or property." It is one of at least two lawsuits by federal workers.
Left even further behind in the shutdown: Low-income households. TPC’s Elaine Maag explains that the partial shutdown could pose a severe hardship for low-income households. Those families may lose support from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps) and housing subsidies, as well delays in receiving Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.
Boston officials suggest new taxes on high-end real estate deals. The revenues from a tax of up to 6 percent on property sales over $2 million and a “flipping” tax of up to 25 percent on some properties that are sold twice within two years would fund affordable housing. The proposal would need to be approved by the city council, the mayor, and the state legislature, and is sure to face stiff opposition from real estate developers.
Germany’s ruling party may push tax cuts to forestall an economic slowdown. The new chair of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats, thinks Germany should ease the tax burden on companies to hedge against a future economic downturn. The tax cut may also be a response to US corporate rate cuts. Germany’s federal budget surplus grew to more than 11 billion euros ($12.6 billion) last year.
Will the European Union grant more tax-setting authority from member states? Bloomberg reports that the European Commission may move ahead today with plan to allow a majority of national leaders in the European Council to approve certain tax changes. Because tax harmonization now requires unanimous agreement, it has proven almost impossible for the EU to combat tax avoidance.
Indonesia puts tax moves on e-commerce retailers. The nation’s finance ministry announced yesterday that it will implement new rules that require e-commerce sellers to share data with authorities and pay taxes. Indonesians spent $8 billion online last year and the government predicts sales may rise to $65 billion by 2022.
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