Trump on GOP’s border adjustable tax: Positively not an endorsement. Last Thursday the President said the congressional Republicans’ plan “could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States.” But he seemed to be backing some generic form of border tax, not necessarily the House GOP model. “I certainly support a form of tax on the border. What is going to happen is companies are going to come back here, they're going to build their factories and they're going to create a lot of jobs and there's no tax.”
Cohn on the BAT: Definitely a no-go, sort of. A day after Trump’s remarks, Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, told a group of CEOs that the White House does not support the House GOP’s BAT. Then, the White House clarified Cohn’s remarks, stating “There is no daylight between Gary Cohn and the President.”
Mnuchin weighs in too. On Sunday morning, this is how the Treasury Secretary described it on Fox: “So let me just say this is something we are studying very carefully. There are certain aspects that the president likes about the concept of a border-adjusted tax, there are certain aspects that he's very concerned about." Mnuchin also said the administration will not push for changes in Medicare or Social Security. Perhaps Trump will clear it all up when he speaks to Congress on Tuesday evening.
And TPC’s Gleckman on the GOP’s border-adjustment tax: Keep talking. Howard writes, “So far, at least, the debate has been serious and productive. No stale arguments over the same tired ideas. Relatively little hyperbole, at least by Washington standards.” Neat!
And one more reminder about the BAT: You can’t always get what you want. Gleckman says that it will either “generate trillions of dollars in new revenue or it will shrink the trade deficit. It can’t do both.” He explains why here.
Meanwhile, one GOP congressman thinks the President should release his tax returns. Trump supporter and Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz responded to angry protester demands at a town hall: “Absolutely, Donald Trump should release his tax returns.” He did not, however, call on Congress to issue a subpoena for them.
This Friday at 9:00 am: What are the prospects for corporate tax reform? TPC convenes congressional leaders and top tax experts for a half-day forum on the prospects for reform and the pros and cons of various proposals, including a destination-based cash-flow tax. Speakers include Senator Ron Wyden, Doug Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, Alan Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley, Roseanne Altschuler of Rutgers University, and Pam Olson of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Register here.
A new paper finds sustained consumer response to Mexico’s soda tax. The study, to be published in the March issue of Health Affairs, estimates the changes in beverage purchases in Mexico for 2014 and 2015. Mexico implemented a 1 peso per liter excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in early 2014.
State and local fiscal and finance folks: March 1 is your paper submission deadline. Submit a one-page abstract or proposal by Wednesday to the 6th Annual Municipal Finance Conference to be held July 17 and 18 at the Brookings Institution. This year, the conference will award two prizes of $3,000 each for presented papers: One on municipal capital markets, and another on state, local, and regional economic and fiscal issues. Papers will be chosen by April 1, and drafts will be due by June 1, 2017. Email submissions to Lilia Cherchari.
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