You can’t stop after one. Yesterday President Trump suggested for the second time that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was just phase one of tax changes. He said to House Ways & Means Chair Kevin Brady yesterday, “Kevin, are we going for an additional tax cut, I understand? Huh? He's the king of those tax cuts, yeah? We're going to do a phase two, I'm hearing that… Phase two. We're actually very serious about that, Kevin. So, it's good.” He was, by all reports, joking.
The President has perhaps chosen a new director of the National Economic Council. President Trump has told people that he has chosen Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as the director of the NEC. The White House has not yet offered comment on whether an offer has been made or accepted.
Per President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will ask the EU to lower trade barriers. European Union trade policies hurt US farmers and industry, the White House argues, but the EU disagrees. The EU counters that the US is “cherry-picking” trade data and continues to seek exemption from planned tariffs on steel and aluminum.
China’s Commerce Minister, meanwhile… In response to Trump’s announcement of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, Zhong Shan told Reuters that “There are no winners in a trade war. It will only bring disaster to China and the United States and the world.”
Philly’s soda tax is falling flat, and so will pre-K enrollment. Philadelphia’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is not raising as much revenue as expected. That means Philadelphia will not enroll as many children in its pre-K and community schools programs. TPC’s Richard Auxier and John Iselin ask, “Why is soda tax revenue dictating school enrollment? That’s a good question, and one more states and localities should consider when designing these taxes and dedicating the revenue to specific services.”
On the Hill… The House may see an omnibus spending bill this week, just in time for when the federal government’s spending authority expires on March 23. Meanwhile, top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee Representative Elijah Cummings wants the panel to subpoena the Trump Foundation for documents they may provide new evidence of "apparent self-dealing.” The foundation’s 2015 tax filing admitted a violation of such rules, which prohibit tax-exempt non-profit leaders from funneling money to themselves or their businesses.
And on alert… The IRS warns taxpayers that unscrupulous tax return preparers promise inflated tax refunds, and prey on older Americans and low-income taxpayers. They use flyers, fake storefronts and word of mouth—and may even be making presentations in churches or to other community groups. The scam artists are just one of the IRS Dirty Dozen list.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.