How should Congress address temporary tax provisions? In testimony to the Ways & Means Select Revenue Measures subcommittee, TPC’s Mark Mazur suggested three steps that Congress can take to adhere more closely to the principles of good tax policy: 1) Enact fewer temporary provisions and plan for how and whether to make them permanent; 2) evaluate each provision after it becomes law; and 3) do not extend temporary tax provisions retroactively.
Is the country ready for a gas tax increase? TPC’s Howard Gleckman says that while many in Congress hope to pass a big infrastructure bill this summer, they have no shared plan for how to pay for it. Some favor a higher gas tax, others prefer rolling back some high-income or corporate tax cuts enacted in 2017, and still others would expand public-private partnerships. “Until lawmakers can find a way to agree on some form of new revenue,” Gleckman concludes, “don’t count on a major infrastructure bill anytime soon.”
Guess who opposes a federal education tax credit? The Trump Administration has requested $5 billion for a federal tax credit to subsidize tuition for students in private and religious schools. The Washington Post explains why some of the strongest advocates for school choice do not support this proposal. In a nutshell, as Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey says, “School choice is about individualization and freedom… But federal initiatives are a terrible way to deliver that [because]t what the feds fund, even indirectly, they inevitably want to control.”
How about the House Democrats’ fiscal plan? Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth of Kentucky put his party’s chances of getting a floor vote on a budget resolution at 50 percent. You may have noticed disagreement within the party over policy priorities such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Plus ca change….
The EU is busy is the tax-front. European Union finance ministers increased to 15 the number of countries on its tax haven blacklist. They include: American Samoa, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Guam, Marshall Islands, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands, United Arab Emirates, and Vanuatu. At the same time, the Union finally has abandoned, at least for now, a union-wide digital tax on tech companies including US giants like Google and Facebook. France and a handful of other European countries are imposing their own digital taxes, much to the dismay of the US Treasury.
Are global corporations becoming fans of a digital tax? While the EU initiative has died, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development may try to move on an even broader scale. The OECD’s head of tax policy, Pascal Saint-Amans, told Reuters that “We have a significant group of business people saying it’s probably time to do something.” In the past, corporate interests have opposed efforts to update international rules that keep taxes lower for digital firms than other businesses.
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