You think health care and tax reform have problems… According to Democrat Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, the Senate is not likely to complete its work on health care until 2018. That’s in part because, as Politico explains, Congress will spend much of the next several months working on budget issues. It must address the debt limit by fall to avoid a default on the national debt. It will also battle over spending bills. Congress has just 12 working weeks left before it must complete work on the 2018 budget to avoid a government shutdown.
Don’t forget about the AHCA’s tax cuts. While most people are focused on the insurance coverage issues in the House’s health bill, TPC’s Howard Gleckman has a reminder about the measure’s $900 billion tax cut.
Atlantic City can’t quite ante up. The city’s casinos pay just over 9 percent in taxes on gross gaming revenue, and generated $237 million in taxes last year. But rates tax rates are higher in neighboring states. Pennsylvania has 12 casinos and collected over $1.379 billion in taxes, taxing slot machine gross revenue at 54 percent and table game gross revenues at 16 percent. Maryland has five gaming properties and collected $452.9 million in tax revenue. On average, those casinos pay 40 percent tax on their revenues. Jeff Gural, owner of the Meadowlands, explains New Jersey’s dire straits: “You guys have been ripped off by the casino industry for 30 years. The tax rate here is a fiasco. Basically… operators have taken profits from here and built competition for Atlantic City [in other states].”
“Don’t bogart that tax revenue…” Oregon has collected $75 million in taxes on marijuana sales since 2016, but it can’t yet use the money for its designated purposes, in spite of a $1.6 billion budget deficit. Schools and police agencies have not yet received any of the money, because the state must first reimburse its Liquor Control Commission for costs associated with setting up the marijuana program, and it has yet to do so.
A diet soda tax? Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has proposed a diet soda tax to complement his proposed 1.75-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. Critics had warned the sugary drink tax, which could raise $16 million in its first year, could have a disproportionate effect on people of color. Murray says that white people are more likely to consume diet soda than people of color. He argues that adding the diet soda tax would assure that all consumers of carbonated beverages would be taxed equally, and raise an additional $7 million. The city council plans to address the mayor’s proposal next month.
Tomorrow on the Hill. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on economic growth policies for the Trump Administration. Former Senator Phil Gramm will testify.
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