The President’s troublesome tweeted tax threat. TPC’s Howard Gleckman considers the implications of President Trump’s threat to raise taxes on Harley-Davidson in response to the company’s decision to shift some manufacturing overseas. The firm is reacting to tariffs Europe is imposing in retaliation for Trump tariffs on steel and aluminum. It’s the second time in recent weeks that the White House has hinted that it might use the IRS for political purposes. Gleckman concludes, “Trump’s tweet was inappropriate at best and dangerous at worst.”
The National Taxpayer Advocate says implementing the TCJA will be tough. Nina Olson warned that it would take a “herculean effort” for the IRS to update forms and write regulations to accompany the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Her biggest concerns: the agency’s ability to keep up with the TCJA changes while struggling with ongoing technology and customer service challenges—all with a limited budget.
Thumbs down on Wayfair. Sixty-five percent of those responding to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll say they will be hurt by last week's Supreme Court decision that allows states to require online retailers to collect sales tax.
The coming Supreme Court battle ends any chance of a second tax bill this year. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to retire sets up a monumental battle in the Senate, as Republicans will try to confirm a new justice before the November election and Democrats will do everything they can to block the effort. It almost surely kills what was already a long-shot: a second tax bill this year.
Wisconsin’s deal with Foxconn just got a little more expensive. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that the state and some municipalities have sweetened their initial $3 billion incentive package with nearly $1 billion in new tax breaks, all to lure the Chinese manufacturer to Wisconsin. Foxconn broke ground this week on a 20 million-square-foot liquid-crystal display production facility and promises to create 13,000 jobs over several years.
Taxing legalized pot in Michigan. Voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If so, consumers would pay a 10 percent excise tax on the sale price on top of Michigan’s 6 percent sales tax.
Californians will vote on a gas tax repeal in November. The initiative qualified for the November ballot and gives Republicans in close mid-term elections a little juice. The repeal fight has been vigorous since California’s majority-Democratic legislature passed a 40 percent gas tax increase last year. It’s been expensive too, with financial support coming from not only the state’s Republican party but also Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
And California’s Mountain View voters will consider a Google tax in November. The city council decided this week to put the initiative on the fall ballot. Will Google, the city’s largest employer, pay an additional $3.3 million on top of the business tax it already pays in Mountain View? The measure modifies a current annual $30 business license fee: It would exempt firms with fewer than 50 employees but rise proportionately with the number of workers, The city expects to raise $5.9 million for its general fund and for transportation and housing.
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