IRS funding bill sets the stage for a budget standoff. The House would cut the agency’s funding by 7.7 percent, or $838 million, from this year’s levels. That’s $2.8 billion short of what the White House wants and roughly equal to the agency’s resources 17 years ago. The IRS currently has a hiring freeze, answered about half its calls during filing season, and just endured a data breach. The spending plan is just one of a series of House “message” bills that no one thinks will become law.
House Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan vows to provide the tax reform platform for GOP candidates. He plans to show voters how a Republican controlled White House and Congress would reform the tax code. There are no details on what’s in or when he’d release his tax reform plan, per The Washington Post. Ryan says, “I’ve been doing this for 17 years, I’ve run on a national ticket… I’ve learned a lot in the past few years and I think I have a better sense of what’s doable.” So the wait continues: That’s always doable.
The Kansas House is not yet ready for tax increases. It’s the longest legislative session on record and there’s still no sign of a budget deal. The state needs to close its $400 million budget shortfall by July 1. The uncertainty could lower Kansas’ bond rating.
Louisiana budget negotiations may be a tad more productive. The legislature has a day left in its spring session, and budget talks have moved behind closed doors. The House said no to the Senate’s ten pieces of tax and fee legislation, which would have funded the state's higher education and health care budgets. Instead, ten conference committees will work out the details. Unclear if they are awaiting further word from Grover Norquist.
The Holy See decides to share. The Vatican will share with the US the tax information of 150 US citizens with accounts at the Vatican Bank. It joins 62 countries that have signed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act agreements. Vatican foreign minister Monsignor Paul Gallagher said it is part of a “long-term strategy to ensure and promote legality, transparency and ethical behavior in the economic and financial fields.” Italian authorities have called the Vatican Bank a tax haven.
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