More opportunities for Opportunity Zones. The provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would create extremely generous tax incentives for investors in the nearly 9,000 zones around the US. Now the Trump Administration says it is planning to add new government support and perhaps additional subsidies on top of the TCJA’s tax breaks. Further complicating the story: Businesses owned by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner stand to benefit from the zone designations.
IRS says a shutdown won’t delay the filing season. A senior IRS official says the coming filing season won’t be delayed if agency funding is blocked due to the impasse over the president’s border wall. The IRS is one of several agencies and departments that is awaiting a spending bill. As of now, it would lose funding after a short-term money bill expires at the end of next week.
Pelosi agrees to leadership term limits, gets the votes to become speaker. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has locked up the votes she needs to become House Speaker in January. The price: She agreed to step down no later than 2022 and to term limits for the party’s top House leadership positions.
Will the House GOP try to pass a stop-gap funding bill with $5 billion for the border wall today? Trump is putting on the pressure and the House Appropriations Committee may advance a short-term funding measure that would fund the wall and keep the government open through January. The House GOP leadership is counting votes. It hardly matters: Such a bill won’t pass the Senate.
As for tax extenders… House Democrats already are making plans for how they’ll handle tax extenders when they take control of the chamber next January. The Ways & Means Committee would make expiring tax breaks a top priority, incoming chair Richard Neal told Tax Notes: “We’ll have to wait and see [how many are considered], but we certainly intend to move on them fast.” That probably means they won’t pass in the lame duck session.
Yet another message bill. With the backing of Maine Republican Susan Collins, Senate Democrats won the chamber’s approval of a resolution to block new Treasury rules that allow political nonprofits to avoid reporting the names of some donors to the IRS. There is no chance that bill will pass the House this year.
How could policymakers design “carbon dividends?” A new report from TPC’s Donald Marron and Elaine Maag examines how government could return revenues from carbon taxes to US households. They propose a carbon dividend that combines beneficial features of treating dividends as communal property (as Alaska does with state oil resources) and as consumer tax rebates. As Marron writes in his blog on the report, “We do not recommend either pure approach. Political and practical concerns also matter.”
Will California tax texts? State regulators are considering a text message surcharge to fund a program that makes phone service available to low-income residents. While the program’s budget has grown from $670 million to $998 million since 2011, revenue from a telecom industry tax that was to help fund it has fallen by one-third. Wireless industry and business groups oppose the proposal that they say could cost customers $44.5 million a year—and would show up as a surcharge visible in the fine print of cell phone bills.
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