A budget deal, still on the Hill… The White House praised the omnibus tax and spending deal reached by House leaders, but there are still some House Democrats who oppose it. Democratic whip Steny Hoyer said “It's difficult for members to vote against good stuff. But it totally takes the discipline out of the system, because it's another thing you don't have to pay for — the goodies.” Meanwhile, Senate leaders think the chamber could vote as soon as Friday.
But how permanent might those newly permanent tax breaks actually be? TPC’s Howard Gleckman uncovers the hidden agenda behind the tax-extender bill. In a nutshell: The Joint Committee on Taxation scores every tax measure over ten years, even those that expire in one. So, permanent tax breaks have bigger price tags than temporary ones. Enter a GOP presidential candidate who wants to cut tax rates. Where will he or she find the money? In part, by eliminating a just-passed, pricey permanent tax break. Of course, the tax cut was never paid for in the first place… Budget accounting: It’s like magic!
Then there are the postponed Affordable Care Act taxes… The 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans (aka the Cadillac tax), the medical device excise tax, and a tax on insurance companies are all delayed under the tax and spending deal. The Cadillac tax was designed to help pay for the ACA and inspire employers to seek less expensive plans that control their costs. As Peter Orszag explains to The Washington Post, that won’t happen if the postponement turns into a permanent deferral, renewed every year or two. This seems to be a good bet: Nearly all presidential candidates say they oppose the tax.
Hillary Clinton has Warren Buffet’s endorsement and proposes an expanded “Buffet Rule” tax increase. Details remain sketchy, but she would ensure that American households earning at least $1 million per year pay an effective tax rate of at least 30 percent. Her campaign estimates the measure could raise $40 billion a year.
One Michigan business sector might be getting a sweet deal. Switch, the Nevada-based data center company will move to Michigan if the state exempts it from its sales, use, and personal property taxes. The state’s House and Senate cleared the tax breaks, but some business leaders, local governments, and Governor Rick Snyder aren't so sure. The subsidies could make Michigan attractive to other technology companies—but they could also be pitting one business sector against others.
Many Scots will pay taxes on their second homes. Scotland will now levy a surcharge on those who buy a second home or income property for more than £40,000. A 3 percent tax on the full purchase price will be collected starting in April 2016. Scotland’s finance secretary John Swinney also indicated that income taxes would remain aligned with the rest of the United Kingdom.
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