President Trump: We’ll pay for tax cuts with growth, trade deals, and “reciprocal taxes.” He dismissed concerns about his tax outline’s costs in his interview yesterday with CBS’ Face the Nation. But Vice President Pence told NBC’s Meet the Press that Trump’s proposal could increase the deficit “maybe in the short term.” The president may not release details of his plan for months, if at all.
Will Trump’s path to tax reform be smoother than the road to Affordable Care Act repeal? The Administration says it now plans to take the lead on the effort, rather than leaving it to House Republicans. Officials say they’ll spend the next six weeks refining a plan. There remain deep divisions within the administration: Populist advisers don’t cherish large tax cuts for wealthy earners. And Hill Republicans seem stalemated on what to do.
Let history be your guide. Former Democratic senator Bill Bradley recounts the journey of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. In his New York Times op-ed he explains how bipartisanship and a shared commitment to four principles—equity, efficiency, simplicity, and fairness--helped get the bill passed. Can Congress do it again? Bradley concludes it is possible, though tough. “Legislating is a very human experience in which trust and mutual respect play critical roles. But 1986 proved that when both are present, big things can get done.”
In Oregon: Transportation tax increases are on the table. Lawmakers are considering a statewide payroll tax, higher gas taxes, a bicycle tax, and new car tax to raise billions of dollars over ten years. Said the Republican vice-chair of the state’s Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization: “This isn't something anybody does because they like raising taxes. It's because there's an absolute need.” They plan to release a full transportation plan in two weeks.
In the United Kingdom: What will Prime Minister May do about taxes? She’s under pressure from some conservatives to cut taxes, but given a fiscal shortfall that seems impossible. While she can’t promise to keep income or national insurance tax rates at their current level, she has “absolutely no plans to increase the level of tax” and wants to lower taxes on working families. She has ruled out a higher VAT.
And in Austria: An ambitious plan to tax your searches and “likes.” When you search for, “like,” post, or tweet something on social media, your pay no money for your activity, but you do allow those companies to use your data to tailor advertising. Austria’s Social Democrats see that as bartering and want to levy a value-added tax on those transactions. The tax would be remitted by the companies and could close the gap between online firms and brick-and-mortar businesses.
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