Trade talk gets testier, if not tastier. The European Commission has a list of US products that will face tariffs in response to President Trump’s planned tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. This list has grown to include bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries, and orange juice. The Senate, for its part, may advance legislation that could limit the scope of tariffs imposed by a president. President Trump, meanwhile, intends to release a formal tariff plan later this week.
Trade policy adviser Navarro: Not in running to lead NEC. Peter Navarro told Bloomberg TV that the White House is not considering him to replace Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council.
Senate Democrats have a plan to pay for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. They’d repeal parts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced their idea to reinstate the top individual tax rate of 39.6 percent and increase the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent. They’d also restore the individual alternative minimum tax and the estate tax to 2017 rules. All told, they would spend $140 billion to ensure highway trust fund solvency, another $140 billion on roads and bridges, and another $40 billion on high-speed internet.
In Ohio, tax cuts make Trump voters shrug… and wonder. The New York Times reports on their reactions to TCJA effects on pay checks. Said one employee of a machine shop “It’s just a little extra money I can count on. It’s not going to change my life.” For others, he noted, “It’s a couple gallons of milk and loaves of bread to feed their kids.” Said another retiree: “When you cut revenue, you either have to find new revenue streams or you have to cut expenses. They’ve covered all the cuts. How are you going to pay for it?”
Polling data seem to reflect tepid TCJA reactions. Only 36 percent of those surveyed approve of the tax bill, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll data released yesterday. That tracks with polling data from Politico/Morning Consult, released earlier this week.
The Tax Hound is back, wondering about guns, soda, taxes, and state preemption. States preempt a wide range of local laws, governing everything from guns to minimum wage laws to non-discrimination laws to taxes. Michigan offers a prime example—in the Tax Hound’s own school district.
Good borders make good neighbors? Voters in Des Moines and West Des Moines, Iowa, voted for a local 1 percent sales tax. But the tax didn’t go up. That’s because state law requires cities with contiguous borders to vote as a group. Polk County, Iowa, contains ten such cities, and there were enough “no” votes in cities bordering Des Moines and West Des Moines to nix the tax increase. But Dallas County voters in November approved a 1-cent increase, which gives West Des Moines and two other cites that straddle both Polk and Dallas counties two sales tax rates. Said the mayor of West Des Moines: “It doesn’t make any sense. To me it’s like having to ask my neighbor if I can go on vacation.”
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