The unraveling of that infrastructure deal. House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio told reporters yesterday that he wants a gas tax to fund the $2 trillion infrastructure plan Hill Democratic leaders and President Trump say they want. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer wants to repeal some of the tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to fund the idea. But DeFazio says that’s a non-starter. So does House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who also opposes a gas tax hike. He wants public private partnerships to build new infrastructure. But Trump, who used to like that idea, reportedly called it “stupid” at his meeting with Democrats. They all appear to have work to do.
A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad filing season… TPC’s Janet Holtzblatt reflects on her tax filing travails. After years of doing her returns without tax prep software or paid preparers, the TCJA nearly made her give up. But not quite. DIY, she concludes, teaches “new things about the tax code, the cognitive process of taxpayers, and… arrogance.”
Is the TCJA’s retail glitch closer to getting fixed? Retail and restaurant industry lobbyists spent the week trying to convince lawmakers to correct a provision of the TCJA that requires stores and restaurants to write off the costs of their renovations over 39 years, instead of immediately as Congress apparently intended. The bill might have better luck if it were not attached to a broader TCJA corrections package.
But this may be a vehicle. A bill to fix another TCJA provision—one that raises taxes on survivor benefits of children of military families—is collecting broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate. It likely would pass Congress quickly, but will lawmakers try to load it up with other TCJA fixes and perhaps tax extenders?
Trump cuts Stephen Moore loose. Just hours after Moore, a Trump choice to sit on the Federal Reserve Board, said he would not withdraw from consideration, the president tweeted that Moore “had decided to withdraw.” Moore came under heavy criticism for his writing about women and others.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also wants to investigate Turbotax, H&R Block. The governor responds to the ProPublica report that the two tax prep companies nudged tax filers to buy their products instead of using free prep software. He wants the state’s Department of Financial Services and the Department of Taxation and Finance to investigate the claims. Several Hill Democrats also demanded action. Meanwhile, a bill to continue to allow the firms to manage the Free File program has passed the House but sits in the Senate.
Oregon nears a new business tax to fund schools. The state House passed on a party line vote a bill to levy a new 0.57 percent tax on income from in-state sales in excess of $1 million. Democrats say it could raise billions of dollars for education. Republicans agree that public schools need funding, but fear the new revenue would go to the state’s underfunded pension system. Democrats have the supermajority they need to pass the tax measure in both the House and Senate.
Utah lawmakers take on tax reform. To explore options to correct an imbalance in the state’s revenue structure, they are hosting town halls to hear from voters. A statewide lottery, tourism tax, or elimination of certain sales tax exemptions all are on the table. A House-Senate tax reform task force will make recommendations for special legislative session later this year.
Seven minutes to a new tax structure in Illinois? After just a few minutes of debate, the Illinois Senate passed its version of a graduated income tax . The House is likely to make changes but a spokesman for the Speaker said “Just a reminder that the speaker has supported [the graduated income tax plan] since November.”
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